Poems by Conrad Potter Aiken

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Fanfare of northwest wind, a bluejay wind
All lovely things will have an ending,
Light your cigarette, then, in this shadow,
Beloved, let us once more praise the rain.
He
Behold me, in my chiffon, gauze, and tinsel,
I (Bread and Music)
The parrot, screeching, flew out into the darkness,
It is moonlight. Alone in the silence
Southeast, and storm, and every weathervane
How is it that I am now so softly awakened,
The girl in the room beneath
I stood for a long while before the shop window
The first bell is silver,
On the day when my uncle and I drove to the cemetery,
When I was a boy, and saw bright rows of icicles
It is now two hours since I left you,
The day opens with the brown light of snowfall
Many things perplex me and leave me troubled,
This girl gave her heart to me,
It is night time, and cold, and snow is falling,
As I walked through the lamplit gardens,
How many times have we been interrupted
My heart is an old house, and in that forlorn old house,
Like an old tree uprooted by the wind
The music of the morning is red and warm;
It is morning, Senlin says, and in the morning
Music I heard with you was more than music,
I.
After the movie, when the lights come up,
Senlin sits before us, and we see him.
Senlin, walking beside us, swings his arms
It is evening, Senlin says, and in the evening,
Senlin, walking before us in the sunlight,
In the hot noon, in an old and savage garden,
Rustling among his odds and ends of knowledge
‘And am I then a pyramid?’ says Senlin,
In cold blue lucid dusk before the sunrise,
I am a house, says Senlin, locked and darkened,
It is morning, Senlin says, and in the morning
I walk to my work, says Senlin, along a street
That woman, did she try to attract my attention?
It is noontime, Senlin says, and a street piano
Death himself in the rain . . . death himself . . .
It is noontime, Senlin says. The sky is brilliant
The pale blue gloom of evening comes
It is evening, Senlin says, and in the evening
It is moonlight. Alone in the silence
Senlin sat before us and we heard him.
Senlin, alone before us, played a music.
Senlin stood before us in the sunlight,
See, as the carver carves a rose,
When she came out, that white little Russian dancer,
I.
I.
I
I. CLAIRVOYANT
The sun goes down in a cold pale flare of light.
One, from his high bright window in a tower,
One, where the pale sea foamed at the yellow sand,
Up high black walls, up sombre terraces,
The snow floats down upon us, mingled with rain . . .
Over the darkened city, the city of towers,
Midnight; bells toll, and along the cloud-high towers
The white fog creeps from the cold sea over the city,
The round red sun heaves darkly out of the sea.
More towers must yet be built, more towers destroyed,
The warm sun dreams in the dust, the warm sun falls
‘Draw three cards, and I will tell your future . . .
Round white clouds roll slowly above the housetops,
She turned her head on the pillow, and cried once more.
Two lovers, here at the corner, by the steeple,
Well, it was two days after my husband died,
The days, the nights, flow one by one above us,
‘Number four, the girl who died on the table,
Snow falls. The sky is grey, and sullenly glares
As evening falls,
You read, what is it, then that you are reading?
The lamplit page is turned, the dream forgotten;
Of what she said to me that night, no matter.
The cigarette-smoke loops and slides above us,
This is the house. On one side there is darkness,
You see that porcelain ranged there in the window,
Wind blows. Snow falls. The great clock in its tower
We sit together and talk, or smoke in silence.
From time to time, lifting his eyes, he sees
What shall we talk of? Li Po? Hokusai?
Now, when the moon slid under the cloud
The half-shut doors through which we heard that music
‘This envelope you say has something in it
The door is shut. She leaves the curtained office,
Well, as you say, we live for small horizons:
He, in the room above, grown old and tired,
No, I shall not say why it is that I love you,
As evening falls,
The sun goes down in a cold pale flare of light.
Through that window, all else being extinct
She looks out in the blue morning
He thinks her little feet should pass
Here on the pale beach, in the darkness;

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