Tuesday Poem

Porch and Sundial

Stephan Leacock and Po Chu-i, two strange
old men I've loved a long time in your words,

since lone boyhood, only today did I see
you talk together. Leacock on the sundial

of the calm house you built by Couchiching
two summer late, for by then Beatrix was dead,

you graved a motto of your mind: Breves
Horas—Longas Annos: hours are brief,

years long. From your own chair I've watched
the lake's deeper-than-Aegean sapphire flash

through oak and pine to where she would have stood
in the porch's grace. And I recalled you, Po:

“Next year I'll build a screen porch here on this side
for my treasure, my wife.” And later on you say,

in another poem, that “joyful people hate
the hours that rush away and unhappy people

can't stand the creep of the interminable years.”
You two agreed: frantic, desperate, joy

always will tip itself over into sadness,
and may god let the two things flicker

in us like gray and green of the aspen leaves,
not be all joy in youth and grief ever after.

by A.F. Moritz
from The Hamilton Stone Review,
Summer 2010, Issue 21