San Francisco Night Windows
So hangs the hour like fruit fullblown and sweet, Our strict and desperate avatar, Despite that antique westward gulls lament Over enormous waters which retreat Weary unto the white and sensual star. Accept these images for what they are-- Out of the past a fragile element Of substance into accident. I would speak honestly and of a full heart; I would speak surely for the tale is short, And the soul's remorseless catalogue Assumes its quick and piteous sum. Think you, hungry is the city in the fog Where now the darkened piles resume Their framed and frozen prayer Articulate and shafted in the stone Against the void and absolute air. If so the frantic breath could be forgiven, And the deep blood subdued before it is gone In a savage paternoster to the stone, Then might we all be shriven.
From Selected Poems of Robert Penn Warren, edited by John Burt. Copyright © 2001 by John Burt. Reproduced with permission of Louisiana State University Press. All rights reserved.