He used to frighten me in the nights
the wide adult face, enormous, stern, aloft
I could not imagine such loneliness, such coldness
But tonight as I drive home over
these hilly roads
I see him sinking behind stands of winter trees
And rising again to show his familiar face
And when he comes into full view
over open fields
he looks like a young man who has fallen in love
with the dark earth
a pale bachelor, well-groomed and
full of melancholy
his round mouth open
as if he had just broken into song.
- Billy Collins, The Man in the Moon
Let us again pretend that life is a solid substance, shaped like a globe, which we turn about in our fingers. Let us pretend that we can make out a plain and logical story, so that when one matter is dispatched —love for instance—we go on, in an orderly manner, to the next.
- Virginia Woolf
I saw his round mouth’s crimson deepen as it fell,
Like a Sun, in his last deep hour;
Watched the magnificent recession of farewell,
Clouding, half gleam, half glower,
And a last splendour burn the heavens of his cheek.
And in his eyes
The cold stars lighting, very old and bleak,
In different skies
- Wilfred Owen, “I Saw His Round Mouth’s Crimson”
It was passed from one bird to another,
the whole gift of the day.
The day went from flute to flute,
went dressed in vegetation,
in flights which opened a tunnel
through the wind would pass
to where birds were breaking open
the dense blue air -
and there, night came in.
When I returned from so many journeys,
I stayed suspended and green
between sun and geography -
I saw how wings worked,
how perfumes are transmitted
by feathery telegraph,
and from above I saw the path,
the springs and the roof tiles,
the fishermen at their trades,
the trousers of the foam;
I saw it all from my green sky.
I had no more alphabet
than the swallows in their courses,
the tiny, shining water
of the small bird on fire
which dances out of the pollen.
- Pablo Neruda, “Bird’
We are made and they us-
carbon to carbon, hydrogen to hydrogen.
Must I choose which
universe-bound or eternal-
with the certainty
that Spring will come again?
Through the snow cover
I can imagine leaf and sepal
willows, clover, cinquefoil,
in April, and in June, clusters
of five eggs coupled to a rotting log –
So when I mean to say
I love you
twenty years having
as we draw close—
this is the one, dear,
this park, this park bench
- Donna Johnson, From Stars