From 55 Poems
To My Wash-Stand
To my wash-stand
in which I wash
my left hand
and my right hand
To my wash-stand
whose base is Grrek
is marble and is fluted
To my wash-stand
is an oval
in a square
To my wash-stand
whose square is marble
and inscribes two
smaller ovals to left and right for soap
Comes a song of
water from the right faucet and the left
my left and my
right hand mixing hot and cold
Comes a flow which
if I have called a song
is a song
entirely in my head
a song out of imagining
modillions descried above
my head a frieze
of stone completing what no longer
is my wash-stand
since its marble has completed
my getting up each morning
my washing before going to bed
my look into a mirror
to glimpse half an oval
as if its half
were half-oval in my head and the
climates of many
inscriptions human heads shapes'
horses elephants' (tusks) others'
scratched in marble tile
so my wash-stand
in one particular breaking of the
tile at which I have
looked and looked
has opposed to my head
the inscription of a head
whose coinage is the
coinage of the poor
observant in waiting
in their getting up mornings
and in their waiting
going to bed
to what they have
and to what they do not
when a flow of water
doubled in narrow folds
occasions invertible counterpoints
over a head and
an age in a wash-stand
and in their own heads
Mantis! praying mantis! since your wings' leaves
And your terrified eyes, pins, bright, black and poor
Beg——"Look, take it up" (thoughts' torsion)! "save it!"
I who can't bear to look, cannot touch,——You——
You can——but no one sees you steadying lost
In the cars' drafts on the lit subway stone.
Praying mantis, what wind-up brought you, stone
On which you sometimes prop, prey among leaves
(Is it love's food your raised stomach prays?), lost
Here, stone holds only seats on which the poor
Ride, who rising from the news may trample you——
The shops' crowds a jam with no flies in it.
Even the newsboy who now sees knows it
No us, papers make money, makes stone, stone,
Banks, "it is harmless," he says moving on——You?
Where will he put you? There are no safe leaves
To put you back in here, here's news! too poor
Like all the separate poor to save the lost.
Don't light on my chest, mantis! do——you're lost,
Let the poor laugh at my fright, then see it:
My shame and theirs, you whom old Europe's poor
Call spectre, strawberry, by turns; a stone——
You point——they say——you lead lost children——leaves
Close in the paths men leave, saved, safe with you.
Killed by thorns (once men), who now will save you
Mantis? what male love brings a fly, be lost
Within your mouth, prophetess, harmless to leaves
And hands, faked flower,——the myth is: dead, bones, it
Was assembled, apes wing in wind: On stone,
Mantis, you will die, touch, beg, of the poor.
Android, loving beggar, dive to the poor
As your love would even without head to you,
Graze like machined wheels, green, from off this stone
And preying on each terrified chest, lost
Say, I am old as the globem the moon, it
Is my old shoe, yours, be free as the leaves.
Fly, mantis, on the poor, arise like leaves
The armies of the poor, strength: stone on stone
And buld the new world in your eyes, Save it!
Selection from "A" - 8 (1935-1937)
And of labor:
Light lights in air,
on streets, on earth, in earth——
Obvious as that horses eat oats——
Labor as creator,
Labor as creature,
To right praise.
IN THIS CHURCH
To provide the two Choirs the work demanded
He employed his chorus primus and chorus
Choruses comparatively simple,
Within th competence of singers
Not called on to sng figural music,
The Thomaskirche could provide the two organs
the score prescribes,
(The larger, in the west gallery, a two-manual
Two orchestras composed of the town's musicians,
Players in the Thomasschule, University studiosi,
And members of Bach's Collegium Musicum
"Pray we our Lord"
High officials and well-born ladies,
joining to sing the first Choral from their
But as the theatrical music proceeded——
"What does it all mean?"
One old lady, a widow: 'God help us!
'Tis surely a comic-Opera!'
'Natural that Bach should enjoy himself
Had of course to play his music in church'
And out of respect for what he said about Bach,
and the need for amusement in church,
One would salute with two fingers,
Out of respect (tho one has known respect
Touch, sign from, the forehead,
The personal clarity, after the voice known
With impulse master
music and realted matters.
Others agonizing, inside all their lives but
Kept quick notations for cages of song,
Peered thru the cages to see the yellow,
by night light,
To hear sounds sweeter than by day,
By day already exceeded by the instant.
Not Joh. Seb. Bach, Director Musices:
A short and much-needed statement of the
requirements of church
music. With some general reflections
on its decline:
To perform concerted music as it should be
both singers and instrumentalists are required.
.. no one cares to work for nothing.
.. in the chorus secundus I am obliged to use
scholars otherwise available
.. beneficia, themselves inconsiderable, formerly
available for the chorus musicus have
It is astonishing that.. musicians should
to play ex tempore any music put before
.. the necessity to earn their.. bread
allowing them little leisure to perfect their
.. observe how the royal musicians.. are paid.
Friends too tired to see differences,
This, Marx dissociated:
"Equal right .. presupposes inequality,
Different people are equal one to another."
But to make the exploitation by one man of many
When the opposition between brain and manual work
will have disappeared,
When labor will have ceased to be a mere means of
Whether it was "impossible for matter to think?"
Duns Scotus posed.
Unbodily substance is an absurdity
like unbodily body. It is impossible
to separate though and matter that thinks.
"Described," in Das Kapital, "large-scale industry
Not only as the mother of antagonism, but as the
Of the material and spiritual conditions for resolving
It is true the solution cannot proceed along pleasant
Infinite is a meaningless word: except——it states
The mind is capable of performing
an endless process of addition.
Who by construction have
A bird settling like a leaf
Will bury Lord Jesu
For labor who will sing
When spring, the May,
Is strength enough?
The mirth of all this land
Browne, Morel and More
(Who speed the plow in May!)
Rewarded with a sheaf or more
Betrayed and sold.
No though exists
Completely abstracted from action,
Without the solids of bodies
There is no geometry,
Who acknowledge space——moving
Know as many dimensions
as they have muscles
Who have signed to the probability
Of a series of 8 red planes,
Not 7 followed by a black,
Greet the arrivals in their veins,
Know whatever news the future brings to the world
Should have one constant: Name?——perhaps Energy.
Sure, if the flight
Becomes more and more penetrating
The simple will be discovered beneath the complex
Then again the simple under the complex
And, and, the chain without sight of the last term,
The facts are not strange to each other.
When they drive, your choice
Cannot but be guided by simplicity.
Not enough to reject the falsely related
The mirrors of the facts must not be dis-