07 February 2009

Sherod Santos

[from Sherod Santos's The Pilot Star Elegies, Norton, 1999]

The Dream of Exile

          wafted away to the end of the known world
          -- Ovid at Tomis

Each weekend, midsummer, alone and with a knapsack
I would set out right around daybreak

from the factory ramp at Merchants Yard,
push off from the shore of my elected home,

and dream above the ugly stream for hours until,
as from a space dilated through my ear-

marked copy of the Tristia, one by one the walled
estates would wedge up into that alien air,

their Pompeian glitter raying out like a million
far-flung mercuried coins through the hickory woods,

where I'd drift on my derelict raft, swept along
as if by History past a world perfumed with nard;

then drift some more; then tie up just before
a spill that emptied on the Cumberland

and listen to the water fall, the towrope groaning
with a sound like iron gateposts closing,

and out behind the belt-lashed oar, the light, new-
minted, carried off somewhere, where things

were never whta they seemed, and crowds awaited
a glimpse of my black-flagged quinquereme.

The Pilot Star Elegies: Poems

No comments:

Post a Comment