(My life changed after 2000 - watershed. Kenneth Warren's essay one of those goads to put it all back together.)
Orpheus in love goes undeground,
a demonstration - Blackstone's Law: what's lost is lost.
Blackstone dives into his pile of leaves, his palimpsest,
to prove a mother-of-pearly paradox - what's lost is found.
They baptized you outside the colorful cathedral doors,
a point of light, a peephole in a dreamy spectrum.
Something other than angel, animal - a hum,
a hem in someone's seemly seamless smock - hers,
yours, ours. Henry remembers you, remembers then,
via the impress of your lack of shade - he floats
in whiskered haze, within the darkness that you made,
a Noah, sinking in a sea of bird-calls, in the wine-
dusky seas of Evening Man, winely drunk...
- at the pinnacle of that majestic oak, bluejay
or mockingbird salutes a descending starling, sideways
(choral grackles measuring the distance Henry sank) -
I shall not drink it with you again til Kingdom Come,
he said to them. Blackstone footing out the Roman foot
from here to there: only a cupful, only a child's foot,
only the spectrum of a children's toy, he told them,
spinning and coming round again. A rainbow.
Noah, Bluejay, Blackstone, Henry -
drinking together from the horn of plenty
of memories... old autumnal children now,
old men. And Orpheus goes down into the chaos
shod with mercury, to reap the enormous harvest;
Eurydice, still silent, paces toward the past -
ghost of his future, empress of all his shadows.