Poems, 1930-1940

Poems, 1930-1940

Poems, 1930-1940

Poems, 1930-1940

Excerpt

The Sailor


AN ALBATROSS goes flapping high: he's a shadow in the sky,

far away and far astern,

following and following

like a song you used to sing

but you can't remember how

all the words went, nor the turn

of the melody and now

only half a tune and rhyme

circles in your head and yet

it's a thing you can't forget --

following you all the time.


An albatross is like a girl

that you pick up late at night

in the street... or anywhere,

and she'll let you stroke her hair

till you get it out of curl --

then she'll kiss you, more or less,

even let you tear her dress...

but she's always far away,

far and almost out of sight

always like that goddam bird,

like the song you used to sing

that you wish you never heard

following and following,

all astern of men and ships

following.

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