Trouvee

Oh, why should a hen
have been run over
on West 4th Street
in the middle of summer?

She was a white hen
--red-and-white now, of course.
How did she get there?
Where was she going?

Her wing feathers spread
flat, flat in the tar,
all dirtied, and thin
as tissue paper.

A pigeon, yes,
or an English sparrow,
might meet such a fate,
but not that poor fowl.

Just now I went back
to look again.
I hadn't dreamed it:
there is a hen

Transit

A woman I have never seen before
Steps from the darkness of her town-house door
At just that crux of time when she is made
So beautiful that she or time must fade.

What use to claim that as she tugs her gloves
A phantom heraldry of all the loves
Blares from the lintel? That the staggered sun
Forgets, in his confusion, how to run?

Still, nothing changes as her perfect feet
Click down the walk that issues in the street,
Leaving the stations of her body there
Like whips that map the countries of the air.

Two Years Ago

The light of other days burns dim,
And in the shade is cast,
You'll own I'm right, if you will just
Look back upon the past;
It's glories all are faded,
And each of you must know
That times ain't what they used to be
About two years ago.

Bendigo, you know, my lads,
Was just then in its prime,
And those who happened to be here
Had a most glorious time;
But now its sadly altered,
And things are precious slow,
And times ain't what they used to be
About two years ago.

Two Sons

I HAVE two sons, wife—
Two, and yet the same;
One his wild way runs, wife,
Bringing us to shame.
The one is bearded, sunburnt, grim, and fights across the sea,
The other is a little child who sits upon your knee.

One is fierce and cold, wife,
As the wayward deep;
Him no arms could hold, wife,
Him no breast could keep.
He has tried our hearts for many a year, not broken them; for he
Is still the sinless little one that sits upon your knee.

Two Songs of Advent

I

On the desert, between pale mountains, out cries --
Far whispers creeping through an ancient shell.

II

Coyote, on delicate mocking feet,
Hovers down the canyon, among the mountains,
His voice running wild in the wind's valleys.

Listen! Listen! for I enter now your thought.

Two Songs of a Fool

I

A speckled cat and a tame hare
Eat at my hearthstone
And seep there;
And both look up to me alone
For learning and defence
As I look up to Providence.

I start out of my sleep to think
Some day I may forget
Their food and drink;
Or, the house door left unshut,
The hare may run till it's found
The horn's sweet note and the tooth of the hound.

Two Sinners

There was a man, it was said one time,
Who went astray in his youthful prime.
Can the brain keep cool and the heart keep quiet
When the blood is a river that’s running riot?
And boys will be boys the old folks say,
And the man is better who’s had his day.

The sinner reformed; and the preacher told
Of the prodigal son who came back to the fold.
And Christian people threw open the door,
With a warmer welcome than ever before.
Wealth and honour were his to command,
And a spotless woman gave him her hand.

Two Schools

I put my heart to school
In the world, where men grow wise,
"Go out," I said, "and learn the rule;
Come back when you win a prize."

My heart came back again:
"Now where is the prize?" I cried. ----
"The rule was false, and the prize was pain,
And the teacher's name was Pride."

Two Quatrains

I

As eons of incalculable strife
Are in the vision of one moment caught,
So are the common, concrete things of life
Divinely shadowed on the walls of Thought.

II

We shriek to live, but no man ever lives
Till he has rid the ghost of human breath;
We dream to die, but no man ever dies
Till he has quit the road that runs to death.

Twixt the Wings of the Yard

Hear the loud swell of it, mighty pell mell of it,
Thousands of voices all blent into one:
See “hell for leather” now trooping together, now
Down the long slope of the range at a run,
Dust in the wake of ‘em: see the wild break of ‘em,
Spear-horned and curly, red, spotted and starred:
See the lads bringing ‘em, blocking ‘em, ringing ‘em.
Fetching ‘em up to the wings of the yard.

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