Here tame boys fly down the long light of halls
In this late nightmare of your fourth decade:
Medley of shoe-thuds, towel-slaps and horseplay,
Clamorous radios, counterpoint of squalling
Bed-springs and shower pipes across your ceiling.
Nocturnal soundings turn you back always
To a broken fountain, faces damp as leaves
Stuck to the fountain’s lip in autumn, draining
From an era swamped in war’s impersonal seas.
Do you sleep empty and long, or cannonading
Through these nautical chambers, having gathered all
Your strength into one battered bowling ball,
Asleep, ramp up and down these corridors of boys,
Barely knocking at doors, but bursting into
Identical rooms, like icicles ablaze?
Now, as I hope you sleep, I turn these pages
Of your committed life-rather the notations
Of sensation coaxed and cheated into poems.
Loves are interred three deep, or rise like drowned
Ruined choristers, to flaunt your praises.
Fisher of bodies, when the lure is failing,
Still you proffer the old nibble of boy-bait
Though nothing comes now: arias or kingdoms.
You may not deny death, nor contrive it soon.
Only escape, your orphanhood outrun,
Run from the glisten of those refracting egos
Where you could love and loathe yourself on sight,
To the worst priesthood, or test-tube remedy
For fratricidal passion. Run from the children!
To father men and poems in your mind.
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