David Wright

Poems from 1952


Come on kids, don’t wait
Swing it, beat it, defy it,
The music says dance
Let’s have it, let’s do it
No now is going to be more.


The dark man
Dodging swiftly, dancing smiling
Thru the trees,
Racing Autumn to my grave.
The laughing man thru the trees,
The smiling death thru the leaves,


I see Autumn
Waiting around the corner of my grave
Standing expressionless.
He only waits
Growing taller as chimney smoke
Curling into a sly smile.
He shall make me forget
But his drugs are painful.
Why must he come so eventually
As death?


Seventeen seas and a pair of skys,
All I need,
See the bursting signs in the
Bawdy burly streets,
Featured more like the dream I had
Than your breasts, your thighs,
What else to lose


Some summer
quiet evening
long ago with
your thighs
softly radiating the
burning sun’s
thru the horizon’s
delicate trees
I kissed you


Should poems arise?
No, they won’t.
Should poems be?
Yes, they will,
We are.


Artificial shapes clot
A fog filled memory
And lap over into desire.
Then spill out, writhing
Waiting to be swirled again
Into memory, again
Fresh from desire.


Stepping here
Lightly there
I have followed
the dance
of the moon

The moon melts
Over the desert river
Dancing on the water thru quiet
Swaying trees


To the end we pass
Guided by the fleeting face
That passes beautiful
Yielding unaware
To a momentary union of
Sky and sun or me and sea


Such wonders of this spring
We shall know
And you shall know
And I shall know
When toppling empires
pause to dream


Should I hide from
spraying grass
and bursting skies
Screaming cities announce my presence


Put yourself in bed, lie there,

don’t sleep,
get up.

Light a cigarette, don’t smoke it,

watch the smoke.

Infernal night be damned, but pray no morning light.
And when you see the red light, scream
“Aye, God be hanged, outraged.”

Obscure nonentities all
Lying in bed like you,
Write something beautiful on a page,
Then do some thing unspeakable behind it.
Eat life, then defecate


Its roots have a tenacious grip on earth
But its blossoms, its blossoms are an eon toward God
And You and I alone are base
But together, You and I, we are a flower
Then what of you now? What do you answer to my dreams
Will a sky fill my longing?

Poems from 1954


Their motion moves nothing, and returns to move itself.
Assorted suns, gods no less, and their satellite moons
Shine upon them, in their cloistered orbits.
Their weightless steps, and those before them,
Have worn the stones of their circular path comfortably smooth
And frought with movement, in their cloistered orbits.
Binding and warming laws abound, and new ones of course are coming.
Only a bit of dust, too fine for them to notice,
Suggests the crumbling structure of their cloistered orbits.
Grotesquely the ornate cadavers of those old dead philosophers
Who tried to systematize our Spring Time and our Love
Macabrecate before us. Meanwhile their hollow bones remind us,
Who find spring and vibrant flesh more vital, of old Mr. Eliot’s
Sage advice about birth and death, and all the fun between.


The pale soft wind courts time away
And leaves us silently alone
Upon this fresh tumescent earth.
Between the cool stars and the warm damp sand
The darkness is moulded around our flesh,
And the night and the silence fill our eyes.

Wait here now, while the tall grass,
Beyond the beach sleeps relentlessly,
Waiting for the lavish morning light.
Wait here now, with time clasped between us
In this motionless vertex of desire.
Be here now, before the morning
Hurls us into the swirling
Cycle of consummation.


The moon, bleak and virginal
Peers at us relentlessly
With futile blushing censure.
Wide eyed, the old prude stares,
Unable to resist the sight
Of our bodies warm and breathing
As she skitters across the sky.


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