July 26th, 1965
The bay today breaks
in ripples of applause.
The wind whistles.
Spruce and bright-leaved birch
at the edge
are flat yet plump
as letters with “see enclosures.”
A gull mews, the mailboat toots,
the wind rises and pours with a noise like water
and spills black jazz
from spiked brown seed cups of red columbine.
The wind takes with it a wrack of voices: “the who?”
and unintelligible shapes of phrases
or one scrape: hickory on cement.
Across the bay today
a White House smaller than a thumbnail moon
shines like the light
it shows at night, a star
or sun of kerosene.
The barn swallows from the eaves
are up to something, maybe
showing their fledglings how to do it, scything
an insect harvest from the air.
Round and brown as rabbit droppings,
seed pods of blue-eyed grass
bobble and split along the seams:
so big for so small a flower.
A sailboat scuds,
a poplar tugs at roots
in soil, a scurf on rock.
Everything chuckles and creaks
sighs in satisfaction
reddens and ripens in tough gusts of coolness
and the sun smites.