Thursday, August 28, 2014

For a Snow Leopard in October by Lucie Brock-Broido


For a Snow Leopard in October


Stay, little ounce, here in
                                           Fleece and leaf with me, in the evermore
Where swans trembled in the lake around our bed of hay and morning
Came each morning like a felt cloak billowing

Across the most pale day.  It was the color of a steeple disappearing
In an old Venetian sky.  Or of a saint tamping the grenadine

Of his heavy robes before the Blessing of the Animals.
I've heard tell of men who brought Great Pyrenees, a borzoi, or

Some pocket mice, baskets of mourning doves beneath their wicker lids,
A chameleon on a leash from the Prussian circuses,

And from the farthest Caucasus, some tundra wolves in pairs.

                                                                          In a meadow I had fallen

As deep in sleep as a trilobite in the red clay of the centuries.
Even now, just down our winding road, I can hear the children blanketing

Themselves to sleep in leaves from maple trees.
                                           No bad dreams will come to them I know

Because once, in the gone-ago, I was a lynx as well, safe as a tiger-iris
In its silt on the banks of the Euphrates, as you were.  Would they take

You now from me, like Leonardo's sleeve disappearing in
                                           The air.  And when I woke I could not wake

You, little sphinx, I could not keep you here with me.
Anywhere, I could not bear to let you go.  Stay here

In our clouded bed of wind and timothy with me.
                                            Lie here with me in snow.



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