Three Poems

Charles Simic

Migrating Birds

If only I had a dog, these crows congregating
In my yard would not hear the end of it.
If only the mailman would stop by my mailbox,
I’d stand in the road reading a letter
So all you who went by could envy me.

If only I had a car that ran well,
I’d drive out to the beach one winter day
And sit watching the waves
Trying to hurt the big rocks
Then scatter like mice after each try.

If only I had a woman to cook for me
Some hot soup on cold nights
And maybe bake a chocolate cake
A slice of which we’d take to our bed
And share after we’ve done loving.

If only these eyes of mine would see better,
I could read about birds migrating,
The vast oceans and deserts they cross
And their need to return to this shithole
After visiting many warm and exotic countries.

Eternities

A child lifted in his mother’s arms to see a parade
And that old man throwing breadcrumbs
To the pigeons crowding around him in the park,
Could they be the same person?

The blind woman who may know the answer recalls
Seeing a ship as big as a city block
All lit up in the night sail past their kitchen window
On its way to the dark and stormy Atlantic.

All Gone into the Dark

Where’s the blind old street preacher led by a little boy
Who said the world will end next Thursday at noon?
Where’s the woman who walked down Madison Avenue
In the summer crowd, stark naked and proud of herself?

Where’s the poet Delmore Schwartz I once saw sitting
In Washington Square Park gesturing theatrically to himself?
Where’s the young man in a wheelchair pushed by his mother
Who kept shouting about wanting to kill more Vietnamese?

Mr Undertaker, sitting in a window of a coffee shop
Chewing on a buttered roll, you probably have a hunch –
Or are you, like the rest of us, equally in the dark
As you busy yourself around the newly arrived dead?