A Courtier's Lament
Tidal-eyed the hidey squire woke and sighed
and through the ferrous ferrocyanide (replacing azurite)
crawled from the powder in the permafrost of his throat
to the still sleeping second squire
who found his pleasure in a dream of ancient works,
oxide emanations, vibrations of a silent song that tripped
and fell as snow in the sensation of lines, sonatas, strings of light
light to touch; almost nothing, these symbols.
Exhausted by his upward outward climb our squire on his stomach lay
in the doubled shadow of a grafted tree
and dressed as second Lippi’s longing Magdalene
wrapped up in ancient-matted tresses
inky deep and animal-scented rusty blue he cried,
I never felt more like an ocean than
when Autumn and your chords compared
my syntax to fluorescent lights—
What I mean to say is I am longing
on account of the ferns and melting ice.
Why do the tomatoes weigh down still
October vines when you are wrapped in wool?
Jem Stern (PO '23) grew up in the desert, tasting light. He serves now as an attendant in the Court of Silence.