STEPSISTERS

Perhaps tonight
the slightly waning moon
will bathe us in her presence.
That presupposes the clouds,
so very jealous of late,
allow her to appear. They,
and the unending winter,
are the evil stepsisters,
and they have neither
justice nor compassion
for the moon or for us.
And so, to save their
maleficent case, I shall
again, tomorrow morning,
take up the shovel
and imagine my boots
are crystal slippers.

TO A POET, TO THE WEST

Richard Wilbur lives in Massachusetts
and in Key West, Florida according
to his dust jackets. If you set sail westward
from San Diego you may find your dream
of China, of the endless wall which draws
the stares and wonder more foreboding
more forbidden even than the city,
which you visit to sate yourself of lights,
sirens and the blood heat of steam grates.
It is far easier than digging and far less
dirty, and the walls of the sea rise
more slowly. Once it was a risky journey
the danger of the edge looming over the horizon,
but then digging was no option, pushing deeper
with your crude shovel, knees bloody,
until, at last, you broke through
with dreams of the dragon as you fell
into the limitless void. Now you sail
with dreams of the Pacific sky, although
water has no need of names. The poet
has grandchildren now, and it is to them
to dream of the China that was.


First appeared in Midnight Mind, Number Two (2001) and again in The Right to Depart, Plainview Press, (2008)