Friday, October 7, 2011

"Dublin Morning," "Cupid Reproved," "The Black Dog in the Snow" by David Hopes

Dublin Morning

It’s Monday morning, and I am a poet in the city of poets,
trying to make something of the solemn
flash of gulls over Abbey Street.
It is Monday morning, and I am a wanderer in the city of wanderers
set at Liffey mouth by wanderers off the slim,
snake-headed ships a millennium ago.
I have been on the street an hour and have conversed
with two Chinese, two Irish and one of my own
countrymen, and something has my teeth on edge.
Maybe I long to see a Georgian city under gaslight,
the women in black shawls and the men still
handsome under their scruff and scars and resentment.
But that is gone, and the blue busses pass, and the
Chinese girl tries to tell me how to buy a ticket for the
thing-on-the-rails neither of us remembers how to name.
It is Monday morning and its time to explain why the gray stones
slough off words, and the fling of the bridges, echoes.
Something hidden. Strong. Unfinished.
Stronger than the fence of Celtic bronze that shuddered
Caesar’s armies. Something underground. Here’s what I think:
Because I was in love here, and it came to nothing.

Cupid Reproved

Consider those thousand valuable things
which have nothing to do
with the longing of a body for a body:
fixing an appliance, or writing a poem,
or achieving those peaks on the meringue
which I despair of–
or walking an old street in an older city,
thinking those thoughts of such fragility
they disappear into the air
at the honking of a horn or a
panhandler whining from the shelter of a roof--
thoughts that might not be of bodies after all.
Cupid, finally, must be reproved
for his assumption that all bells rung
are rung for him. Still, I am one who fails, absurdly,
to take his own good counsel.
For all the cunning of my words, in poems, in homilies
to the inquiring young, I have learned nothing.
Same temple, same altar heaped with blossoms.
I am a body in a world of spirits.

I cry for bodies, for the body approaching,
for the body turning away,
for the memory of the body
become a ghost among the ghosts,
even at an age where such a thing’s
no longer fuel for poetry.
Cupid, you bastard, with your arrows
which maim but do not, it appears now kill.
I never learn. I need
once again to climb now as I did that stairway
wrought of blood and bone, in those lost days,
when there was none but you to tell me how.

The Black Dog in the Snow

The dog waits for the cocoa drinkers.
His nose between his paws melts snow.
The father pulls his three sons on a sled.
The dog counts his own four giggling boys.
Snow piles in the black dog’s coat. He shakes,
barks upward, where it comes, “You cannot change me.”

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