Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Morning Reading: May Day

387. Venice - Kenneth Rexroth

May Day

Once more it is early summer,
Like an opal, in Venice.
I listen to the monks sing
Vespers in San Giorgio Maggiore.
Ten years have gone by. I am
No longer alone. My little
Daughter and I sit hand in hand,
As the falling sunlight rises
Up Palladio’s noble aisles
And shimmers in the incense.
The incense billows over
The altar. The Magnificat
Of May Day surges through the incense.
Six years ago, another May Day,
Mary played in a meadow stream,
And caught emerald green baby frogs.
Overhead then, dive bombers wrote
Monograms of death in the sky.
They are still there. Now they have
A new trick. At “He has put down
The mighty from their seat,” one
Of them breaks the sound barrier
With a shuddering belch of hate,
One omnipresent sound in
The sky of Tiepolo.
The same shave jowled apes sit at
The same round mahogany tables,
Just across those pretty mountains.
They are pushing all this pretty
Planet, Venice, and Palladio,
And you and me, and the golden
Sun, nearer and nearer to
Total death. Nothing can stop them.
Soon it will be over. But
This music, and the incense,
And the solemn columned thought,
And the poem of a virgin,
And you and me, and Venice
In the May Day evening on the
Fiery waters, we have our own
Eternity, so fleeting that they
Can never touch it, or even
Know that it has passed them by.


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