James Schuyler

J
James Schuyler
A Stone Knife
December 26, 1969 Dear Kenward,
What a pearl
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Korean Mums
beside me in this garden
are huge and daisy-like
(why not? are not
oxeye daisies a chrysanthemum?),
shrubby and thick-stalked,
the leaves pointing up
the stems from which
the flowers burst in
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Now and Then
for Kenward Elmslie
Up from the valley
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39
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Freely Espousing
a commingling sky

a semi-tropic night
that cast the blackest shadow
of the easily torn, untrembling banana leaf

or Quebec! what a horrible city
so Steubenville is better?
the sinking sensation
when someone drowns thinking, “This can’t be happening to me!”
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A Man in Blue
Under the French horns of a November afternoon
a man in blue is raking leaves
with a wide wooden rake (whose teeth are pegs
or rather, dowels). Next door
boys play soccer: “You got to start
over!” sort of. A round attic window
in a radiant gray house waits like a kettledrum.
“You got to start . . .” The Brahmsian day
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29
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Address
Right hand graced with writing,
my left arm my secondhand new
suit bestrode, from the auto I
say, “Antinous, perched like a
parakeet cracking sunflower seeds
in a hot ice cave or cage,
you’re an apogee. Acid pennies
will fill your mouth, your head
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Destitute Peru
For John Ashbery We pullmaned to Peoria. Was
Gladys glad, Skippy missed
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32
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Light Night
1

A tree, enamel needles,
owl takeoffs shake,
flapping a sound and smell
of underwing, like flags,
the clothy weight of flags.
A cone of silence stuck
with diamonds, the watch
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Poem (The day gets slowly started)
The day gets slowly started.
A rap at the bedroom door,
bitter coffee, hot cereal, juice
the color of sun which
isn’t out this morning. A
cool shower, a shave, soothing
Noxzema for razor burn. A bed
is made. The paper doesn’t come
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Sweet Romanian Tongue
Drew down the curse of heaven on her umbrella
furled and smelling of wet cigarettes,
Jo ran off in rain one pitchy night,
one bloody a.m. found her staring, snoring.

“Why do we all stay up so late?” Jo queried.
“Though I don’t stay up so late as my friends.”
She tripped the little bomb of wasps.
They got her.
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37
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The Bluet
And is it stamina
that unseasonably freaks
forth a bluet, a
Quaker lady, by
the lake? So small,
a drop of sky that
splashed and held,
four-petaled, creamy
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Hymn to Life
The wind rests its cheek upon the ground and feels the cool damp
And lifts its head with twigs and small dead blades of grass
Pressed into it as you might at the beach rise up and brush away
The sand. The day is cool and says, “I’m just staying overnight.”
The world is filled with music, and in between the music, silence
And varying the silence all sorts of sounds, natural and man made:
There goes a plane, some cars, geese that honk and, not here, but
Not so far away, a scream so rending that to hear it is to be
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