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God is so angry with us
That he takes our wits before
He takes our life. This candle,
Guttering, should last about as long
As my supply of music paper, always low,
And my pen runs slower than the melodies
Spill out. My father reckoned I could teach
The alphabet and figures for a living, anything
Else I wanted to depend upon my salary.
That's how the world goes. On the other hand
I hear the praise of a deaf master, and every
Second thought loops in that measure
Bridegrooms dip to, into laughter
Dapping like a troutline on the working waters.
And then I'm out of time,
Don't even know if I am wearing glasses.
The songs make what's inside of things
Come out, the table legs wear dancing shoes
And millstones grind in matrimony slowly,
But exceeding fine. I have to have
My little puns. They trouble
Neither God nor the convictions of the choir.
I need to walk along the avenue
And drink in like a mannikin the fables
Played before shop windows, listen to the gypsies
Hawk their versions of a future gleaming
In the ball of chesty hope and murky fate.
I must go out, I say, but some pain
Pins me to this chair, and keeps me
From out there, as though the scene
Were but superfluous attachments
For a rare machine. But when I go,
Perhaps to eat a meal, down
A glass of beer, and meet and greet
Those friends I still see frequently,
And even those who crop up after many years
At a funeral or wedding, after shaking
Hands and wishing well, I taste
The ashes of a former flame, the tremor of old slights.
And I'm at my wits' end.
And don't know what it means.
Laurance Wieder, from PoemSite: Songs in the Landscape