Academic journal article The Hudson Review

The Magic Circle

Academic journal article The Hudson Review

The Magic Circle

Article excerpt

1. Autumn

Early this morning I glanced out the window

and saw her underneath the maple tree.

She was as pale as that white gown of hers.

Hard to believe it's been a year already.

I waved. She turned away, paused for a moment,

then walked into the mist that marked the border

between my backyard and what lay beyond.

Proserpine, I called, but she was gone.

I am convinced that this was Proserpine

and not, as Mrs. Grandison maintains,

some nut escaped from the state hospital.

All Hallow E'en approaches. Skeletons

hang from the trees along my street, and ghosts,

emboldened, haunt the front yards in broad daylight

2. Winter

The swallows sleep beneath the river ice.

The salamanders whisper in the fire.

Hermes Trismegistus' new work is open

at one of its obscurer passages,

of which there are intolerably many.

I take a break to watch the local news.

Toward midnight, I collect my charts and go

to make my nightly survey of the heavens.

Mercifully they're still there. One of the saddest

developments I've witnessed in my time

has been astrology's decline from science

to fortunetelling of the basest sort,

its long eclipse by disciplines that measure

not meaning, now, but distance, size and mass . . .

As if mere matter mattered in itself. …

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