Canticle

(Memory is many long mirrors)
Corridor mirrors reflecting doors
Quietly opening
                        and then
Noiselessly closing,
Letting wet hats and faces
In from the rain.

(Memory is everything
            Silently
            Forever
            Occurring in mirrors)
Closet doors open;
Closet mirrors twist a smile and face
With a great arm telescoped to the knob.

A hundred facets trace
Light shooting back into the prismed dark
To catch and place
Hall mirrors over and over showing
Faces sadly bending under hats into the rain.

 - Gay Street, Greenwich Village, 1960

When in 1960 I don’t know, so arbitrarily setting it to New Year’s Day.

Plea

My love, I know that I have been a clown,
And, bending with a rose in hand, no claim
To formal loving should I have again;
I know, who never knew before, the sound
That rain makes kissing the dark before
It tumbles to the earth and breaks in crowns,
That you are painting beauty where it’s found
Seizing images I saw but never tore from objects.
You fold the word beneath your tongue
And taste the essence of an elm: reflect and lend
And air of legend to my life. Recall
And take the bloody thorns from my hand.

Greenwich Village 1961