A cactus plant a calendar: a bust
Of David, after Michelangelo,
Shaped by myself, unfinished, eyes made just
Too small; and thus that poet-king’s regard
Is more intense than I might wish to know -
All on the window-sill, where I discard
Bent paper-clips, where bottled ivies glow.
What does the sunlit cactus signify
That thrives in gravel, almost waterless?
Is there some arid symbol here, which I
Might nurse into a flaunting desert rose?
No, cactus still is cactus. Each can guess
Its meaning - how that starlike flower grows
In soil unsaturated by success.
The calendar takes time to scan aright.
Those days ahead - what lambs do they count
In which the music of my life takes flight
And rises like a bird inside the glass
That lets a shifting dust-reduced amount
Of sunlight in? What days of work must pass,
With poems to please and poems to disappoint?
Lastly, my sculpture, sun-baked, incomplete:
The aureole of curls too tightly turned.
Keen-eyed, yet still majestic, glances meet
My look of pleasure that so much came true.
The sculptor’s satisfaction lingers, earned
By courage at the start, for when the new
Skill seemed impossible, it still was learned.
Now Mozart’s music plays while I write on.
Those window objects have the curtain drawn
Between them and this room - the sunlight gone
Into a haze of winter. How to match
The meaning of such hidden things? The fawn
Is not so shy. And I shall sooner catch
The shadow of its antlers flecked with dawn.