Home // July.13.2017 // Ben Mazer


Cirque d’etoiles

And after all is made a frozen waste
of snow and ice, of boards and rags . . .
if I should see one spark of permanent,
one chink of blue among the wind-blown slags
approaching thus, and mirroring my surmise,
one liquid frozen permanence, your eyes . . .
should meet you at the end of time
and never end . . .
for always, even past death, you are my friend . . .
and when at last it comes, inevitable,
that you shall sit in furs at high table
(for what other fate can one expect?)
dispensing honours, correlating plans
for every cause, for education, science . . .
what will I miss? how can I not be there?
who see you sputtering wordless in despair . . .
as I do now "miss nothing, nothing"
and to know you are some other man's
(the stupid jerk), who once had your compliance . . . 
and do these things ever end? (and if so, where?)
I ask myself, and should I feel despair?
to know, to love, to know, and still not care?
in winter, spring, and summer, and in fall,
on land or sea, at any time at all,
to know that half the stars on each night shine,
the other half are in your eyes, and mine . . .
and what is there? And what, I ask, is there?
Only these hurt and wounded orbs I see
nestled against a frozen stark brick wall . . .
and there are you, and there is me,
and that is all, that is all . . .
How from this torment can I wrestle free?
I can't . . . for thus is my soliloquy.
And you shall sit there serving backers tea.
And running ladies circles. Think of me . . .
Think of me, when like a mountainous waste
the night's long dreaming stretches to a farther coast
where nothing is familiar . . . two paths that may have crossed
discover what had long been past recall . . . 
that nothing's really changed at all,
that we are here!
Here among flowering lanterns of the sea,
finite, marking each vestige of the city
with trailing steps, with wonder, and with pity!
And laugh, and never say that you feel shitty,
are one whose heart is broken, like this ditty.
And think that there is nothing there to miss.
Think "I must not miss a thing. I must not miss
the wraps, the furs, the teaspoon, or the kiss."
And end in wishes. And leave not this abyss.
For all is one, beginning as it's done.
Never forgetting this, till I am no one.
There is no formula that can forget . . .
these eyes pierce though ten thousand suns have set,
and will keep setting . . . now tuck in your head,
the blankets folded, and lay down in your bed.
And stir the stars, long after we are dead.


NB: This poem originally appeared in the collection New Poems, published by Pen & Anvil in September 2013.

Banner graphic source by Zachary Bos, based on the cover of  Grace After Meat by John Crowe Ransom with an introduction by Robert Graves, printed and published by Leonard & Virginia Woolf at the Hogarth Press, 1924.

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