This day is not afraid of growing old
But flushed and spangled as a player queen
In robes of rose and saffron crêpe-de-chine
Prepares her regal exit from a stage of gold.
Unhurriedly she lets the night unfold
Its shadows, but where morning’s lamp has been
She sets a sickle moon, sharp-honed and clean
And lights the stars’ small fires against the cold.
Sunset’s her epilogue and every play
Half-worth the actor’s breath jaunts to a close
That leaves the audience clapping. There’s no way
The script can over-run. Our finest shows
End with a flourish and the fans’ bouquets.
the leading lady takes her bow and goes.
Spem in Alium
Sunlit music, delicate
As an artist’s hand
Strong as cathedral stone,
Boys’ voices catch and plait
Into a steel-cored rope
That draws away from earth
The listener’s mind,
As York towers fly
Beyond the masons’ scope
To tip the sky.
This jaw is poised to snap, cold iron from the sea
That buries bent aggressiveness in sand,
Pocked like the moon whose sickle can set free
High lunar tides to raid and rob the land
A schizophrenic grinner, turning down
Pretentiousness, it cart-wheels like a clown.