Edgar Bowers

E
Edgar Bowers
An Afternoon at the Beach
I’ll go among the dead to see my friend.
The place I leave is beautiful: the sea
Repeats the winds’ far swell in its long sound,
And, there beside it, houses solemnly
Shine with the modest courage of the land,
While swimmers try the verge of what they see.

I cannot go, although I should pretend
Some final self whose phantom eye could see
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Amor Vincit Omnia
Love is no more.
It died as the mind dies: the pure desire
Relinquishing the blissful form it wore,
The ample joy and clarity expire.

Regret is vain.
Then do not grieve for what you would efface,
The sudden failure of the past, the pain
Of its unwilling change, and the disgrace.
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Autumn Shade
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
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Clear-seeing
Bavaria, 1946 The clairvoyante, a major general’s wife,
The secretaries’ sibyl, read the letters
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Clothes
Walking back to the office after lunch,
I saw Hans. “Mister Isham, Mister Isham,”
He called out in his hurry, “Herr Wegner needs you.
A woman waiting for a border pass
Took poison, she is dead, and the police
Are there to take the body.” In the hall,
The secretaries stood outside their doors
Silently waiting with Wegner. “Sir,” he said,
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For Louis Pasteur
“Who is Apollo?” College student How shall a generation know its story
If it will know no other? When, among
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The Mountain Cemetery
With their harsh leaves old rhododendrons fill
The crevices in grave plots’ broken stones.
The bees renew the blossoms they destroy,
While in the burning air the pines rise still,
Commemorating long forgotten biers.
Their roots replace the semblance of these bones.

The weight of cool, of imperceptible dust
That came from nothing and to nothing came
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The Poet Orders His Tomb
I summon up Panofskv from his bed
Among the famous dead
To build a tomb which, since I am not read,
Suffers the stone’s mortality instead;

Which, by the common iconographies
Of simple visual ease,
Usurps the place of the complexities
Of sound survivors once preferred to noise:
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The Stoic: For Laura Von Courten
All winter long you listened for the boom
Of distant cannon wheeled into their place.
Sometimes outside beneath a bombers’ moon
You stood alone to watch the searchlights trace

Their careful webs against the boding sky,
While miles away on Munich’s vacant square
The bombs lunged down with an unruly cry
Whose blast you saw yet could but faintly hear.
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The Virgin Considered as a Picture
Her unawed face, whose pose so long assumed
Is touched with what reality we feel,
Bends to itself and, to itself resumed,
Restores a tender fiction to the real.

And in her artful posture movement lies
Whose timeless motion flesh must so conceal;
Yet what her pose conceals we might surmise
And might pretend to gather from her eyes
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