Can't swim; uses credit cards and pills to combat intolerable feelings of inadequacy; Won't admit his dread of boredom, chief impulse behind numerous marital infidelities; Looks fat in jeans, mouths clichés with confidence, breaks mother's plates in fights; Buys when the market is too high, and panics during the inevitable descent; Still, Pop can always tell the subtle difference between Pepsi and Coke, Has defined the darkness of red at dawn, memorized the splash of poppies along Deserted railway tracks, and opposed the war in Vietnam months before the students, Years before the politicians and press; give him a minute with a road map And he will solve the mystery of bloodshot eyes; transport him to mountaintop And watch him calculate the heaviness and height of the local heavens; Needs no prompting to give money to his kids; speaks French fluently, and tourist German; Sings Schubert in the shower; plays pinball in Paris; knows the new maid steals, and forgives her.
David Lehman - 1948-
(after Holderlin) The yellow pears hang in the lake. Life sinks, grace reigns, sins ripen, and in the north dies an almond tree. A genius took me by the hand and said come with me though the time has not yet come. Therefore, when the gods get lonely, a hero will emerge from the bushes of a summer evening bearing the first green figs of the season. For the glory of the gods has lain asleep too long in the dark in darkness too long too long in the dark.