At Cairo, the old established firm of Fever & Ague is still settling up its unfinished business.
—The Confidence Man
The sky not uniform gray, but a splendor
of chalky washes, some Prussian blue,
smutty or smoky, where stray dots of starlings
whip past like loose punctuation—
the afternoon falters, as afternoons will,
this season of late gestures,
the hardness before true winter.
Botticelli showed the same futility of the beautiful,
caught, held, the merest
stay against the inevitable, the way the first
locust seems a mistake, but soon—
in that way age runs through its petty defeats—
the mobs clatter in the grain bin.
There is that last pleasure, disease.
William Logan’s edition of the forgotten poem Guy Vernon, by John Townsend Trowbridge, was published last spring by the University of Minnesota Press. A new book of poems, Madame X, was published by Penguin last fall.