by Stanley Kunitz
It darted across the pond
toward our sunset perch,
weaving in, up, and around
a spindle of air,
this delicate engine
fired by impulse and glitter,
less image than thought,
and the thought come alive.
Swoosh went the net
with a practiced hand.
“Da-da, may I look too?”
You may look, child,
all you want.
This prize belongs to no one.
But you will pay all
your life for the privilege,
all your life.
Even the walls are flowing, even the ceiling,
Nor only in terms of physics; the pictures
Bob on each picture rail like floats on a line
While the books on the shelves keep reeling
Their titles out into space and the carpet
Keeps flying away to Arabia nor can this be where I stood —
Where I shot the rapids I mean — when I signed
On a line that rippled away with a pen that melted
Nor can this now be the chair — the chairoplane of a chair —
That I sat in the day that I thought I had made up my mind
And as for that standard lamp it too keeps waltzing away
Down an unbridgeable Ganges where nothing is standard
And lights are but lit to be drowned in honour and spite of some dark
And vanishing goddess. No, whatever you say,
Reappearance presumes disappearance, it may not be nice
Or proper or easily analysed not to be static
But none of your slide snide rules can catch what is sliding so fast
And, all you advisers on this by the time it is that,
I just do not want your advice
Nor need you be troubled to pin me down in my room
Since the room and I will escape for I tell you flat:
One cannot live in the same room twice.
by George Oppen
What generations could have dreamed
This grandchild of the shopping streets, here eyes
In the buyer’s light, the store lights
Brighter than the lighthouses, brighter than moonrise
From the salt harbor so rich
So bright her city
In a soil of pavement, a mesh of wires where she walks
In the new winter among enormous buildings.