The small owls cry
through the centaur's woods,
bronze wings clashing
through the dry autumnal leaves.
Old battles echo in the air -
the brazen shield and iron spear
flash in the moonlight.
Caught between the fearful dream
and feared reality
the fieldmice still,
crouch lower than the rabbits in the groves.
The owls fly on,
more haunted now than hunting,
towards a time
when pale Athena, helmeted and armed,
lifted her shield
to catch the owl-eyed moon.
A Water-Colored World
I had wanted to write your elegy
on the subway,
Old Poet of another Eastern city,
ever since my Russian student e-mailed
her office all your February rose-lit
tulip-tinted green and wavy
after-image of the UN building.
I have wanted to recall
the Adam’s I and eye, the garden master’s
roses on Long Island, the tough and cocky
mariner. The voice comes back
at dusk, beside an artificial tree,
your friend’s flat Upstate accent
like your own, more humorous
and less engaged.
and colored brightly all your world,