– after Valêry
She sleeps in a palace of rose innocence
Under day's murmurs in the slow vine's hold;
From coral walls is culled an utterance
When stray birds come and pick at her rings of
She does not heed the silver rains that fall
Through palace silences, nor does she hear
In the east wood the flute's insistent call
Rife with sweet rumors of awakening there.
Prodigal sunsets dote upon her, till,
Racing to reassert its old hauteur,
A late persimmon moon scatters its chill.
No, nothing here is known—nothing to learn,
Only time's fingerings which will never stir
In her French arms the tendons of concern.
1956; originally printed in Sequoia.
permission of the author.