Five Poems: Poem 2, Procession

Here’s where I tried my hand at a Tennyson homage. It came out fairly bitter.


A river ought to glitter – it’s a thing to shine the sun on.
The river road at night is no safe place for folks to run on.
Observe what’s parceled out, here on the cracked and graveled ground:
the inward tracks of Matthew, sprawled all indolent around.

Oh, I should have married Matthew today sometime or other
If this wedding doesn’t happen now, don’t blame me.
I’m in a bad mood. A headache’s coming on.
(Or something else my white lace garments in this gore suggest.)

Well did you think a girl,
in one bleak moment, could abandon zest?
Could I stand here  in sudden meekness,
pliant, cold, in wedding dress,
and say, ‘Dear me, it’s such a shame,
such a nice young man,’
and bend my head to a funeral plan,
and tell the florist, ‘please re-rout,
but thank you that you came!’

Oh, blisters. Better let me laugh.
Well, Matthew, (or your colder half)
I’ll stay beside you talking some
until the cops can come.

This morning I had quite a dream – but you were there. You know.
I saw you leaning over me: ‘Matthew,’ I said, ‘No –
Sweetie! After sixteen months – a night can do no harm.’
I saw the stillness in your eyes – I took alarm –

The sun emerged from chambers royal and stretched his golden limbs;
some clouds stepped off and made an aisle; the river gurgled hymns.
The maple trees along the road flew the flags of Autumn;
lilies like balloons were anchored on the river’s bottom.
When I marched out in white, three mourning doves attended me.
The wind was fussing whee and she arranged my updo splendidly,
and hung a veil of midges around my head and face,
a thousand points of floating, moaning, shredding wedding lace.
A mirror I glimpsed among the reeds confirmed me cumulus-crowned;
I came, I saw, I knelt here on the cracked and graveled ground.

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