Dave Haselwood – Five Poems (Provincial Review – May 1952)

Lament for Virtue Lost

Behind your eyes a great disgust
Grows in the morning light;
It was not there last night to blame
When eyes grown vague asked more than willingly you gave.

s it that you are disappointed?
Or shall I suffer for having done
What you no longer could resist?
Recrimination is a pleasure I’ll forego.

You may lament for what is lost
Forget what great sophistication gained;
But do not ask me to give more
Than one faint sigh in passing; nor sing a minor tune.


My hair is matted and my flesh is torn,
No more my cleft foot pounding upon rock,
No more my long hair flying, borne
Upon the wind, proud grey eyed maidens mock.

For I am old and laugh no more
With wine stained lips, nor hold those bodies near
Which I was wont to hold before
Until they wielded to my thighs with fear.

No elegies shall grace my death
Nor coronals to wither on my tomb
But only summer’s weary breath
To sigh a dirge in passing for my doom.

The Moon Eye

Beneath the bloodless moon
Caught in a net of clouds like the eye of a fish;
In the slow wave wash of October wind,
I saw your face in light reflected on the sea,
Waver and spread in diamond fire.

It is the moonfish swimming in the waves
Which makes the flames leap in my mind,
Spreads fire into my fingers till they plunge
Into water. Crystal drops fall back,
Ring little bells in the face of the moon…

Cold, cold the water, and the vision fades;
The fish eye sinks beneath a darker wave,
Drowns in the frozen sea.
A great emotion dies with the dying of the moon.

Prologue for the Winter Season

I have seen the grey birds,
Winter driven,
Whirling on the wind;
Felt the wet wounds of last snow
Gather and disappear in the sun;
Have heard the breath of November weeds
Where snow rests briefly
And wind birds fall,
Laugh and rebuke the prodigal’s search,
Cry the last catechism.

Three in August

Toward August
The brown turning of weeds,
The falling of spores as we sat
Watching the dust road,
The wind changed shadows.

The sun sank to the weeds;
Two remained.
I followed the path,
Choked by pollen;
Felt the wrenching of old webs
And was alone.

By a shrunken pool
Pushed back thought,
Saw the live mud driven by primeval spark
The eternal pairing of flesh.

The pool darkened
Trees shrank into shadow;
I lay insensible
Upon dry ferns,
By the dark wound.


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