A new land or
the same land reached
the now silent sundial
a trio plays, face half-hidden,
a sour deception.
and all the green’s one curse.
The gangster and the pimp invades the courts,
force innocence at knifepoint and convert
pavanes to blasphemy.
of magic now to sever friend from friend.
Daylight’s a spill of mist, and night
is absolute between the puttering torches
glinting on shed blood.
memories of other Mays,
the wonder echoing from seashore
and riverbank and glade. Dazzle
the one ingredient of all,
each kiss rimmed with sun,
disguise postponed delight.
has hardened to a killing blade,
the poisoned rain
leaves iridescent pools in ditches,
rots the rose.
Beyond the future,
what unimagined island may
blend fair with foul, bring what’s thought lost
back dripping radiance from the sea?
from A Puzzling Harvest: Collected Poems 1955-2000 (Anvil 2002), © Harry Guest 2002, used by permission of the author and the publisher