The Monument and the Shrine

T
1

At focus in the national
Park’s ellipse a marker
Draws tight the guys of

Miles, opposite the national
Obelisk with its restless oval
Peoples who shall be

Deeply drawn to its
Austerities: or
For a moment try the mystery

Of the god-like eye, before
Our long climb down past relic
Schoolboy names and states

And one foolish man
Climbs up, his death high
In his elliptic face.


2

A double highway little
Used in early spring
Goes to the end of the land

Where Washington’s chandeliers
Are kept, his beds and chairs,
His roped-off relic kitchen

Spits, his pans; his floors
Are worn underneath the dead
Pilgrims’ feet; outside

The not-so-visited tomb;
And over the field and fence
His legendary river:

And so I walk although
The day is cold for this;
I eat a thin slice

Of bread and one remarkable
Egg perfectly shaped,
A perfect oriental por-

Celain sheen of white.
Suddenly the lost
Ghosts of his life

Broke from the trees and from the cold
Mud pools where he played
A boy and set as a man

The sand glint of his boot,
The flick of his coat on the weeds;
His wheels click in the single road.
46
Rating:

Comment form:

*Max text - 500. Manual moderation.

Similar Poems:

from The Book of the Dead: Praise of the Committee by Muriel Rukeyser
Muriel Rukeyser
These are the lines on which a committee is formed.
Almost as soon as work was begun in the tunnel
men began to die among dry drills. No masks.
Most of them were not from this valley.
The freights brought many every day from States
all up and down the Atlantic seaboard
and as far inland as Kentucky, Ohio.
After the work the camps were closed or burned.
Read Poem
0
53
Rating:

Sorrow Gondola No. 2 by Tomas Tranströmer
Tomas Tranströmer
I
Two old men, father-and son-in-law, Liszt and Wagner, are staying by the Grand Canal
together with the restless woman who is married to King Midas,
he who changes everything he touches to Wagner.
The ocean's green cold pushes up through the palazzo floors.
Wagner is marked, his famous Punchinello profile looks more tired than before,
his face a white flag.
The gondola is heavy-laden with their lives, two round trips and a one-way.
Read Poem
0
41
Rating:

In Memory of George Calderon by Laurence Binyon
Laurence Binyon
Wisdom and Valour, Faith,
Justice,—the lofty names
Of virtue’s quest and prize,—
What is each but a cold wraith
Until it lives in a man
And looks thro’ a man’s eyes?

On Chivalry as I muse,
The spirit so high and clear
It cannot soil with aught
It meets of foul misuse;
It turns wherever burns
The flame of a brave thought;

And wheresoever the moan
Read Poem
0
31
Rating:

Madeleine in Church by Charlotte Mew
Charlotte Mew
Here, in the darkness, where this plaster saint
Stands nearer than God stands to our distress,
And one small candle shines, but not so faint
As the far lights of everlastingness,
I’d rather kneel than over there, in open day
Where Christ is hanging, rather pray
To something more like my own clay,
Not too divine;
Read Poem
0
74
Rating:

The Bridge of Change by John Logan
John Logan
The bridge barely curved that connects the terrible with the tender.
—Rilke 1

The children play at the Luxembourg fountain.
Read Poem
0
48
Rating:

Autumn Shade by Edgar Bowers
Edgar Bowers
1

The autumn shade is thin. Grey leaves lie faint
Where they will lie, and, where the thick green was,
Light stands up, like a presence, to the sky.
The trees seem merely shadows of its age.
From off the hill, I hear the logging crew,
The furious and indifferent saw, the slow
Response of heavy pine; and I recall
Read Poem
0
42
Rating:

Contemplations by Anne Bradstreet
Anne Bradstreet
1
Sometime now past in the Autumnal Tide,
When Phoebus wanted but one hour to bed,
The trees all richly clad, yet void of pride,
Were gilded o’re by his rich golden head.
Their leaves and fruits seem’d painted but was true
Of green, of red, of yellow, mixed hew,
Rapt were my senses at this delectable view.

2
I wist not what to wish, yet sure thought I,
If so much excellence abide below,
How excellent is he that dwells on high?
Whose power and beauty by his works we know.
Sure he is goodness, wisdom, glory, light,
Read Poem
0
82
Rating:

Heart’s Needle by W. D. Snodgrass
W. D. Snodgrass
For Cynthia

When he would not return to fine garments and good food, to his houses and his people, Loingseachan told him, “Your father is dead.” “I’m sorry to hear it,” he said. “Your mother is dead,” said the lad. “All pity for me has gone out of the world.” “Your sister, too, is dead.” “The mild sun rests on every ditch,” he said; “a sister loves even though not loved.” “Suibhne, your daughter is dead.” “And an only daughter is the needle of the heart.” “And Suibhne, your little boy, who used to call you “Daddy”—he is dead.” “Aye,” said Suibhne, “that’s the drop that brings a man to the ground.”
He fell out of the yew tree; Loingseachan closed his arms around him and placed him in manacles.—AFTER THE MIDDLE-IRISH ROMANCE, THE MADNESS OF SUIBHNE
Read Poem
0
103
Rating:

Lines on Locks (or Jail and the Erie Canal) by John Logan
John Logan
1

Against the low, New York State
mountain background, a smokestack
sticks up
and gives out
its snakelike wisp.
Thin, stripped win-
ter birches pick up the vertical lines.
Read Poem
0
49
Rating: