My words are dust.
I who would build a star,
I who would touch the heel of the white sun;
Staggering up the inaccessible sky,
I look upon the dust.

The stainless clouds go mounting
In shining spires;
And a little heap of dust
Are my desires.

Yet, dwelling long upon these peaks
Unchained upon the flickering western sky,
I have beheld them at the breath of darkness
Fade slowly out and die.

What of my lineage?
Arrogant and swift,
I bend above the dust,
Untouched of all my grief,
Untarnished of the hour,
And lo! the leaf—
The passionate climbing flower!

From the Telephone

Out of the dark cup
Your voice broke like a flower.
It trembled, swaying on its taut stem.
The caress in its touch
Made my eyes close.

Night Fell

Night fell one year ago, like this.
He had been writing steadily.
Among these dusky walls of books,
How bright he looked, intense as flame!
Suddenly he paused,
The firelight in his hair,
And said, “The time has come to go.”
I took his hand;
We watched the logs burn out;
The apple boughs fingered the window;
Down the cool, spring night
A slim, white moon leaned to the hill.
To-night the trees are budded white,
And the same pale moon slips through the dusk.
O little buds, tap-tapping on the pane,
O white moon,
I wonder if he sleeps in woods
Where there are leaves?
Or if he lies in some black trench,
His hands, his kind hands, kindling flame that kills?
Or if, or if …
He is here now, to bid me last good-night?

Moth Moon

Moth Moon, a-flutter in the lilac tree,
With pollen of the white stars on thy wings,
Oh! would I shared thy flight, thy fantasy,
The aimless beauty of thy brightenings!
A worker, wed to Purpose and Things,
Earth-worn I turn from Day’s sufficiency.
One lethéd hour that duty never brings,
Oh! one dim hour to drift, Moth Moon, with thee!

Related Poems

The moon rose over the bay. I had a lot of feelings.

I am taken with the hot animal
of my skin, grateful to swing my limbs

and have them move as I intend, though
my knee, though my shoulder, though something
is torn or tearing. Today, a dozen squid, dead

on the harbor beach: one mostly buried,
one with skin empty as a shell and hollow

feeling, and, though the tentacles look soft,
I do not touch them. I imagine they
were startled to find themselves in the sun.

I imagine the tide simply went out
without them. I imagine they cannot

feel the black flies charting the raised hills
of their eyes. I write my name in the sand:
Donika Kelly. I watch eighteen seagulls

skim the sandbar and lift low in the sky.
I pick up a pebble that looks like a green egg.

To the ditch lily I say I am in love.
To the Jeep parked haphazardly on the narrow
street I am in love. To the roses, white

petals rimmed brown, to the yellow lined
pavement, to the house trimmed in gold I am

in love. I shout with the rough calculus
of walking. Just let me find my way back,
let me move like a tide come in.