The fourth is a (slight) revision of a poem I've already posted. With regard to the second, it should be said that I have never scribbled a napkin in a bar. That's what coffee shops are for.
The garment of peace fits ill these days,
but I wear it as best I can.
I think of it as a linen shield
against the ravage of man.
The garment of joy is soft on the skin
and wears like silk decadence;
but I keep it in store for a distant day
when the grip of time relents.
'Tis true he's not the greatest bard
to grace the human race;
his poems fail in all but line
that hangs in filler-space.
He has a certain fervor,
like a fever in the brain,
that substitutes for music;
thus all his lyrics strain.
And he preaches like a pastor
and lectures the live-long day;
I'd love to love his poems
but his words get in the way.
He is pompous one dull hour
with a flash of wit thrown in;
his taste is all the former,
which is the prosist's sin.
He likes a good conceit,
as conceited people do,
writ in vain and empty words
dressed up as a clerihew.
Homer is a mountain, Virgil is a road,
Emily's a flower, Milton is a spire,
I think that people tell it true
who say Dante is a choir;
but this poet is a napkin
scribbled in a dim-lit bar
before he passes out from wine
and the barkeep calls a car.
I Had a Love
I had a love,
I gave her much;
she fled far, far away.
I was loved,
she gave me much;
I left at break of day.
This world is sweet, its style nice,
but a crack runs through its grace;
we see the good, not looking twice,
and flee its strangeling face.
I grow sad when I think of wondrous skies
that have never been seen by human eyes
nor ever painted by artists' hands,
that mightily hang over times and lands
beyond where the reckoning mind can go;
sad when I look to the heavens and know
as another sunrise or sunset begins
that there are, uncaptured by the camera's lens,
such skies as this and even more fair,
for which no artist ever did care,
though it deserved to hang where the Masters are,
more lovely than all their works by far,
and deserved to be loved for a million years.
But, alas! in a moment it disappears,
to be seen never again by human eye.
I grow sad when I think of that vanishing sky.