Under Glass

Alfred Kreymborg - 1883-1966

If I could catch that moth,
that fluttering, wayward thing
that beats about inside me all the day and half the night,
(and insignificant net could certainly do it)
I’d stick him through the head
with a pin that’s long and thing,
a pin that long and strong enough to mount him under glass;
(an insignificant pin could certainly do it)
I’d learn of him once for all,
the color of his wings,
the nature of those crazy things that fooled me all these years:
purple, red or blue,
yellow, white or black,
and whether they’re one and all of these and a shade or two besides;
(an insignificant harmony or dissonance they could be)
I’d learn them once for all,
I’d know them, every vein,
so clear to all my neighbors, so invisible – to me.

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?