after seeing THE SEAGULL once again
The scent of weak lilac, cheap caporal,
The wind in the trees and the dog howling
And K loving N who loves T who loves A-
It was under those cloudbanks there
In a fever of grief and rain. …
The boy so shabby and rash and green
And she so imponderably of the mien
Of the tirading queen.
The boy is all wrung, unstrung
For his mother has laughed at the wrong time.
Were he other than he he would leave
But the truth of her laughter is
She laughs for no simple reason
And it is this rocking back and forth-
O it is not coldness that seems like shyness
Vain, reckless, and melting-
It is her dragonfly waist in silk
It is her tinderbox storms when she flares
Out with insult worse than rebuke,
Every old hand-me-down flung down
To reduce him from fever to shame,
Weathercock fits on the exchange
He was bred to, binding the bonds more tight,
For in the next instant she veers,
Is in caressing tears,
Till crumpled at last, he is brought to his knees,
To the child he was, his milky mother
So cruel to be kind whose glancing hands
Are like the touches of the willow.
Then goes–to fling himself at the piano-
A melancholy waltz
Heard all over the house-
To which they simply say as if he were the dog that howls
On moon-struck nights-
“Kostya is sad”
Living so much in the middle of human nature
They cannot be bothered to account for its wildness.
O varied and troubling rhythm!
He knows and knows no better
That clue to the tears she can shake him down to,
Treading so fiercely on all his prides
So obscurely linked to his fears.
How can he solve himself!
How can he leave this house
Rotcen as cheese, a parlor for spiders,
Caught in the netting himself-
How can he manage this knotted pain
Like a retarded, retarding thing,
Himself at breakneck speed of remorse-
Foam caught from the moon
Foaming out over the keys.
Nina, phantomed away,
Nina, love, that smashed thing,
Nina, his play, that glacier-planet desolated looking glass
To the end of things.
His young man’s old man’s gloom
Of new thought pretentious to them
Rousing up small hypocrisies of laughter.
Bereft playground! These woods, this lake,
These meadows that the crane still walks!
Menage bereft of cloud
All that landscape of the huge background
Very childhood a neglect
His guilelessness gave harbor to.
And she, phantomed away,
Her candors of the stuff
To tempt the fancy most
Of those whose delicate feelings are worn off. …
O guilelessness! Witlessness!
The older ones more stout and brute
Or merely more adorably frank
In their self interest, more merely one
With those masks they had put on.
Until this winding down
Of what was set in motion stopped.
The wind bringing her in at the side door,
Like the hurt sea bird she had learned
In imitation of to become,
And he going out of the room
Truly to shoot himself this time.
And you see how in the interests of truth,
The anonymous truth that respects no one,
Whether it was intended or not,
His purpose in life was to be broken.