Wednesday, June 6, 2012
An Alan Shapiro Poem
I lay back on the carpeted bottom step
Of the stairwell that like a well extended
Darkly up to the window near the ceiling,
Up where the Chinaman under the wide-brimmed hat
That hid his face pulled the flowerpot that held
No flower across the sill no one could reach.
There was a television on somewhere
Above me, and the doomsday clock was ticking,
Someone was saying. Someone was saying something
About a blockade and a quarantine,
Who would blink first, lose face, or push the button.
A fat man banged a shoe against a desk.
The Chinaman however didn’t care.
Pulling his flowerpot of absent flowers,
He was content to be a clot of darkness
Brightening the moment late sun caught the glass—
The hat tip first, and then the hat, the arms,
The rickshaw of the flowerpot he pulled.
And everywhere within the light’s slow fall
Infinities of particles were falling
Into the flowerpot they’d never fill.