Summer 1961 • Vol. XXIII No. 3 Poetry |

The Story

He spends long days at the port Where birds and sailors congregate, The world a liar's art Or else a gull's magnificat. He dives with ingenious beat Of wings among green listeners Who hear the giant, feel the scar, And touch Ulysses' tattered shirt: Athena's gift, he smiles. One day his salt breath plays him tricks, A yellow rheum sticks to his coat. Wind roars, his audience Retires indoors. Rain spills, churns Round his cracked skull, seeps through the dense Walls of his brain where Troy still burns, Puts out the fire again. With whom shall he find harbor now? He is too great to bow And knock at gates, or to go home; Or else too old, too filled with shame. But love being simple as fame, Soon he curls at a harlot's feet, Calls her blind dog his court; And while his queen stares at the street, Homeless, crooked, half-gone in the pate The king of birds, the shedding fox Falls asleep in the dirt.

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