Initials

- 1883-1966

He goes along,
   in his thin flesh,
   narrow bones,
   slow blood,
   old hat,
   old clothes,
   old shoes,
singing for love, battling for love.
He will go down,
   in thinner flesh,
   narrower bones,
   slower blood,
   older hat,
   older clothes,
   older shoes,
battling for love, dying for love.
He will be put away,
   in a thin box
   down a narrow slit
   of the old earth,
growing for love, rising for love:
his initials carved
   on a thin seed,
   narrow seed,
   slow seed,
the carving as slow
   as he was slow
carving his K on a song.

More by Alfred Kreymborg

Cezanne

Our door was shut to the noon-day heat.
We could not see him.
We might not have heard him either—
Resting, dozing, dreaming pleasantly.
But his step was tremendous—
Are mountains on the march?

He was no man who passed;
But a great faithful horse
Dragging a load
Up the hill.

The Tree

I am four monkeys.
One hangs from a limb,
tail-wise,
chattering at the earth;
another is cramming his belly with cocoanut;
the third is up in the top branches,
quizzing the sky,
and the fourth—
he's chasing another monkey.
How many monkeys are you?

Crocus

When trees have lost remembrance of the leaves
that spring bequeaths to summer, autumn weaves
and loosens mournfully — this dirge, to whom
does it belong — who treads the hidden loom?

When peaks are overwhelmed with snow and ice,
and clouds with crepe bedeck and shroud the skies — 
nor any sun or moon or star, it seems,
can wedge a path of light through such black dreams — 

All motion cold, and dead all traces thereof:
What sudden shock below, or spark above,
starts torrents raging down till rivers surge — 
that aid the first small crocus to emerge?

The earth will turn and spin and fairly soar,
that couldn't move a tortoise-foot before — 
and planets permeate the atmosphere
till misery depart and mystery clear! — 

And yet, so insignificant a hearse? — 
who gave it the endurance so to brave
such elements? — shove winter down a grave? — 
and then lead on again the universe?