- This Town Is Alright., and: Three Cows, and: As You Come Driving Through, and: Late-Night Inquiry, and: Some Late-Summer Evening
This Town Is Alright.
A little river, then a bridge,
After which a row of white homes
With well-trimmed lawns
And a fat, bowlegged dog
Walking slowly from the curb,
Carrying a paper in his mouth [End Page 506]
These must be the cows who prayed to be born again and graze side by side on this pretty meadow.
And did so all summer long, lifting their heads only to look with their sad eyes at a poor devil like you,
who has stopped by their fence, wearied by some thought or other, and has now roused himself discovering he has company. [End Page 507]
As You Come Driving Through
You may catch a glimpse of our high school princess
Doing cartwheels and twirling a baton
In a yard full of junked stoves and refrigerators
Her grandfather kept trucking home from the dump,
Over the years, so they can rust there in peace
And fall apart in view of everyone passing through,
So they may have something to remember of our town. [End Page 508]
Have you introduced yourself to yourselfThe way a visitor at your door would?
Have you found a seat in your roomFor every one of your wayward selves
To withdraw into their own thoughtsOr stare into space as if it were a mirror?
Do you have a match you can lightTo make their shadows leap on the wall,
Or float dreamlike on the ceilingThe way leaves do on summer afternoons,
Before they take their bow and the curtain dropsAs the match burns down in your hand? [End Page 509]
Some Late-Summer Evening
When the wind off the lake
Stirs the trees’ memories
And their dark leaves swell
Against the fading daylight
With an outpouring of tenderness—
Or could it be anguish?
Making us all fall silent
Around the picnic table,
Unsure now whether to linger
Over our drinks or head home. [End Page 510]
charles simic is a poet, essayist, and translator. His New and Selected Poems: 1962–2012 was published last year.