When he was at Swarthmore Wystan wrote
what he wanted most as a tow- headed boy
walking among the grains of Wales was
to prospect and mine a lead mine,
perhaps knowing then of making men heavy
as the centers of their consciousness
where the wings of world wars would fail.
What a way for words would follow
as Achilles’ heel would fail and fall
creating victories where armor rattled
around one and darkness veiled the eyes.
I hunt for the little things in poets.
How little we become of what we want.
How insubstantial in the weight of worlds
weighing down upon man’s history.
Frost bitter cold upon the bonds of family
yet breaking down the fences that we know,
and Dickey pickled in a vat of Sheep child,
Warren something slow in the mind of a cow,
a glass jar growing in Tennessee, and a howl
Bly tucks firmly behind his Mexican serape.
We go for these things, we Americans.
We have no mythology beyond misanthropy
unless it is of the little man against the storm.