Saturday Poem

The Grand Palace of Versailles

An elephant made of cotton…
Towers of lace under which satin-heeled
Gentlemen sit, playing with the bustles
Of slightly desiccated Grand Dames.
Good morning, Louis, it's a fine day
In the mirror.

A chaise lounge carved
Out of the living body of a white leopard…
Spools of silk placed in buckets
Of gilt milk . . . A three-headed dancer
Prancing to the music of a little bell
Languidly swung by a Negro with a hairlip.
Two visiting kings having their canes reheaded,
With the juice of mildly sickening berries.
What does Salvador Ernst Matta, Louis?
It's a fine day in the mirror.

It must be amusing to be poor, n'est-ce pas?

by Kenneth Patchen
from Selected Poems
New Directions Books, 1942