Poem of the Month
36

By Robert Melançon

Published on July 1, 2013

It all has to fit into twelve lines—a lesser sonnet—
all that’s depicted at every instant inside the cave
dug out by Plato for the chaining up of those

whom he deemed to be dupes of illusion. But in his
system’s sphere, the soul struggling to be free
had to swap for a stale whiteness, all pleasing things:

these wind-harrowed trees, the play of sun and shadow,
that pink-and-brown bird alighting on a wire.
So I shall settle for the paradise of what I see:

I trace this rectangle of twelve lines and
make of it a window through which to observe a
ll that appears, and that happens once only.

More Poetry

Rua da Felicidade

Walking down Rua da Caldeira, on my way to the Street of Happiness. Rua da Felicidade. These narrow two blocks were the hub of the infamous Macau red-light district back in the twenties and thirties, and after.

Instead of a Christening

Goodbye, Romans said at interments,
Goodbye, and Goodbye. Hired clowns
imitated the dead, mocking
and reminding among the mourners.

I moat myself with winter sea,
I bury myself in woods.