Flowers, cold from the dew, And autumn's approaching breath,I pluck for the warm, luxuriant braids, Which haven't faded yet. In their nights, fragrantly resinous, Entwined with delightful mystery, They will breathe in her springlikeExtraordinary beauty. But in a whirlwind of sound and fire, From her shing head they will flutterAnd fall?and before herThey will die, faintly fragrant still. And, impelled by faithful longing, My obedient gaze will feast upon them?With a reverent hand, Love will gather their rotting remains.
We are here in a wood of little beeches: And the leaves are like black lace Against a sky of nacre. One bough of clear promise Across the moon. It is in this wise that God speaketh unto me. He layeth hands of healing upon my flesh, Stilling it in an eternal peace, Until my soul reaches out myriad and infinite hands Toward him, And is eased of its hunger. And I know that this passes: This implacable fury and torment of men, As a thing insensate and vain: And the stillness hath said unto me, Over the tumult of sounds and shaken flame, Out of the terrible beauty of wrath, I alone am eternal. One bough of clear promise Across the moon
You swallow hard when you discover that the old coffee shop is now a chain pharmacy, that the place where you first kissed so-and-so is now a discount electronics retailer, that where you bought this very jacket is now rubble behind a blue plywood fence and a future office building. Damage has been done to your city. You say, ''It happened overnight.'' But of course it didn't. Your pizza parlor, his shoeshine stand, her hat store: when they were here, we neglected them. For all you know, the place closed down moments after the last time you walked out the door. (Ten months ago? Six years? Fifteen? You can't remember, can you?) And there have been five stores in that spot before the travel agency. Five different neighborhoods coming and going between then and now, other people's other cities. Or 15, 25, 100 neighborhoods. Thousands of people pass that storefront every day, each one haunting the streets of his or her own New York, not one of them seeing the same thing.
Los Angeles was the kind of place where everybody was from somewhere else and nobody really droppped anchor. It was a transient place. People drawn by the dream, people running from the nightmare. Twelve million people and all of them ready to make a break for it if necessary. Figuratively, literally, metaphorically -- any way you want to look at it -- everbody in L.A. Keeps a bag packed. Just in case.
I sometimes think about old tombs and weedsThat interwreathe among the bones of kingsWith cold and poisonous berry and black flower: Or ruminate upon the skulls of steedsFrailer than shells and on those luminous wings -The shoulder blades of Princes of fled power, Which now the unrecorded sandstorms grindInto so wraith-like a translucencyOf tissue-thin and aqueous bone-