Each thing says one thing and the same:
I am me; who I am is what I do; my name
is flung like the tongue of a bell
rung, and I, young, le bête in the chill hall, a hell
of fame, pursue you, the belle of the ball.
Myself I speak before the fall,
before the wind with its wanderlust
blows away the leaves like mortal dust,
as fall they must,
the green, the red, the yellow, the rust.
As freedom to a slave, to a nomad is home,
or the scent of escape in the ocean foam
to the castled king, lusting for love.
The feet are cold, yet how like a fire
the hurt heart in the heat of her desire.
David Lehman's most recent books are The Morning Line (Pittsburgh UP), a book of poems, and The Mysterious Romance of Murder: Crime, Detection, and the Spirit of Noir (Cornell University Press). The title poem of The Morning Line is a verse essay on gambling, doubt, and faith, and the book includes a Talmudic short story (“Tales Told To Tevye”) and an elegy for boyhood ("The Complete History of the Boy"). Of The Mysterious Romance of Murder, Lois Potter in London's TLS writes: “How often does a critical book actually make one want to read the books it discusses?” Lehman is a contributing editor of The American Scholar.
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