, , ,

By lamp or morning light,

Bent close over the page,

You heard the language right,

No matter from what age.

Whether Jonson’s grieving prayers,

Or Milton‘s rich designs,

Or Melville’s rugged verse,

Or Winters’ densest lines,

Your mind knew the intent,

Your voice wakened the sound—

The sleeping beauty pent

In chambers underground.

Surrounded now by noise,

My words, that sought your praise,

Your understanding voice,

Confront the silent days.


Reprinted from The New Compass: A Critical Review (June 2003).