THERE are some days the happy ocean lies
Like an unfingered harp, below the land.
Afternoon gilds all the silent wires
Into a burning music of the eyes.
On mirroring paths between those fine-strung fires
The shore, laden with horses, roses, spires,
Wanders in water, imaged above ribbed sand.
The azure ecstasy of the air tires
And a sigh, like a woman’s, from inland
Brushes the chords with shadowy hand,
Drawing across the waves some bird’s sharp cries,
A bell, a gasp, from distant hidden shires:
These deep as anchors, the hushing wave buries.
Then, from the shore, two zigzag butterflies,
Like errant dog roses, cross the bright strand
And on the ocean face search the salt byres
For foam-flowers growing in reflected skies.
They drown. Witnesses understand
Such wings torn in such ritual sacrifice,
Remembering ships, treasures and cities,
Legendary heroes plumed with flame like pyres
Whose deeds and flesh on their day’s island
The timeless wave engulfed: their coins and eyes
Twisted by tides are, through the fingering mires
Of the masculine ocean, scarcely scanned,
Where, over them, the harp sighs all their sighs.


FLOWERING almond tree,
Angelically you bring,
With praying hands, bent knee,
And arc of coral-petaled wing,
Annunciation of spring.
Your message burning like a taper
Unfolds translucent petals where
Jagged column, broken stair,
With silhouettes of lorn paper
Upbraid the azure dome of air.
O lift us to those skies —
Which, through interstices
Of your leaves and petals, show
Their cold and scat tered eyes —
To the wild sun above the snow,
Holder of southern masterpieces,
Whose whirling fires create
Dazzling petals from dark fate.