Sunday Poem

On Auden’s Musee des Beaux Arts

Not for me so much do I care
what it means—
the parent smiling while
her child’s skating,
cutting figure eights over
a pond’s ice,
veil between two worlds.
One- a world to laugh & breathe in.
The other, you drown in.

Or, seeing something
fall from the sky—
who speaks for
him or her that never grew wings
or simply dreamed the possible—
mention the torturer’s horse
casually scratching its ass,
see how quickly one’s thoughts turn
soft & nuzzy.
Now is the time
to further expand the metaphor:
Off goes the gilded Jolly Roger,
a smiley face
o’er its skull & bones.
At the tiller, a pirate steering,
tacking further, each instant
more distant from those
casually orphaned of human love and care.
See how it gathers speed with all the available air.

Walter Burnham

Auden's Musee des Beaux Art