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The Kimono

March 04, 2001|James Merrill | From "Collected Poems" by James Merrill (Alfred A. Knopf: 888 pp., $40)

When I returned from lovers' lane

My hair was white as snow.

Joy, incomprehension, pain

I'd seen like seasons come and go.

How I got home again

Frozen half dead, perhaps you know.

You hide a smile and quote a text:

Desires ungratified

Persist from one life to the next.

Hearths we strip ourselves beside

Long, long ago were x'd

On blueprints of "consuming pride."

Times out of mind, the bubble-gleam

To our charred level drew

April back. A sudden beam . . .

--Keep talking while I change into

The pattern of a stream

Bordered with rushes white on blue.

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