It is past midnight. Hello, new year. Hello, self. I raise my head and look at the sky. I say my name. Once. Twice. Again. I say, here. Here.
What am I, after all? Another speck in the universe. Beginning again. Here.
What Am I After All
What am I, after all, but a child, pleas’d with the sound of my own name? repeating it over and over;
I stand apart to hear—it never tires me.
To you, your name also;
Did you think there was nothing but two or three pronunciations in the sound of your name?
Calamus, Calamus! Think about Calamus, for pete’s sakes, said my friend. We have skipped class and were sitting at the library steps.
Wished you were here.
Here the Frailest Leaves of Me
Here the frailest leaves of me, and yet my strongest-lasting:
Here I shade and hide my thoughts—I myself do not expose them,
And yet they expose me more than all my other poems.
I feel so close to you, he said, when we first met. Perfect, in fact, he would write. Hardly, I would say.
“Are you the new person drawn toward me?”
Are you the new person drawn toward me?
To begin with, take warning, I am surely far different from what you suppose;
Do you suppose you will find in me your ideal?
Do you think it so easy to have me become your lover?
Do you think the friendship of me would be unalloy’d satisfaction?
Do you think I am trusty and faithful?
Do you see no further than this façade, this smooth and tolerant manner of me?
Do you suppose yourself advancing on real ground toward a real heroic man?
Have you no thought, O dreamer, that it may be all maya, illusion?
Because you need to feel the wound, my father taught me once.
There are who teach only the sweet lessons of peace and safety;
But I teach lessons of war and death to those I love,
That they readily meet invasions, when they come.