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Poem of the Month - March 2004
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On the Mall
from Gathering Wild

Out where the forest stood, cool
and undisturbed before the fire,
scrub has grown over the char;
there's no lodge anymore.

But it's not in woods so much
I miss you, Beast, as here
where the Lord of sad cases,
the Lord of swallows smashed on plateglass,
the Lord of night-gusts answering torments,
the Lord of blown ash
in the breadth of his pity
keeps giving me chances.

Tangled in bramble the logs you cut
and rolled that spring for a corduroy road
are moss underfoot. And scrap cedars
scattered with birch have grown to command
original shadow, deep silence, that doom
of the backwoods home
where we used to boil our water
in a little copper pan.

And to think that now you own
half a block downtown: steel, glass, stone --
know every broker and are known ...

'Lord of thin spinsters,
of bachelor clerks in debt for their suits,
Lord of the lonely-hearts, Lord
of failed poets, am only I
too sour to fancy
what glints and is for sale?'

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