Oct/Nov 2017 Poetry

Two Poems

by Marjorie Mir

Image excerpted from Birthing the Joyful Self 2 by Roe LiBretto

Image excerpted from Birthing the Joyful Self 2 by Roe LiBretto

Morningside Heights

These memories would be more at home
in Cambridge or in Paris,
in someone's sweet, sifted recollections
of long-ago Vienna, Prague, or Budapest,
their student days.

Instead, they belong
to the windy upper reaches
of Manhattan,
severities of brick and asphalt,
Broadway shops and traffic.
There, in a decade all but eclipsed
by its neighbors,
I found a friend who saw in art
miracle and generosity.

We bought white hyacinths from a truck.
In a Viennese cafe,
watched with pleasurable idleness
the swirling dance of iced coffee
and whipped cream. We talked. I wrote,
bought books with money meant for lunch.

From those concurrences,
place and time, affinity,
came the ached-for separation,
a river's width away,
from the anomaly I had become,
pinioned Alice-like
against the walls and ceiling
of rooms too close, too small.

Like Ulysses' the voyage home,
heart's home, may go on for years,
meet waylayings,
fair winds turned treacherous,
safe harbors, sly enchantments.
Still, if it ended here,
not now, you understand, but here,
on a morning with scarves of new snow
muffling the windows,
enough to read and eat,
cats drawing sleep from the radiator's
mothering comfort, I wouldn't mind.
It would be all right,
would satisfy.


Monet's Giverny Palette Contained in a Kaleidoscope

There are no apparent mirrors here,
only liquid and illumination,
only the slow swimming
of green leaf shapes,
blue moving through its shadings
from near-transparency;
once, from out of hiding,
a drift of ruby fish.

In something like stop-motion,
amethyst flower heads
open and diffuse,
no more an illusion
than what he saw himself,
looking down into water,
upward through leaves,
light into water, water through light,
the eye correspondent and enthralled.


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