Four Social Poems

By Lowell Moorcroft
Friday December 29, 2006


I met you as hours driving forward permitted. 

The universe announcing progress in the morning paper 

Made against its black and white your color apt. 

You were an old royal star, a Rigel, a warm 

Mars. There was that self-announcing traffic 

Yelling the bellicose morning of business days, 

Your face against it, pointed, still, aware, under 

A small hat, making the perfect marker for 

The corner to meet at. Always coffee, always 

A search for sugar in lumps no longer cubed 

That way, little bags instead, your crinkled 

Filed fingers tearing them in anyway impatience. 

Then fifteen minutes, twenty sometimes, to find 

The calm bottom of exchange from which to proceed. 

My office waited. The hurried lines for bran 

Muffins, styrofoam occasionally opened for your look to note 

An order for doughnuts as they were your past. 

I wondered at the coral wipe you left on Kleenex 

By the saucer, what cosmetic vintage it belied 

From purses, wallets, whatever you retained to 

Speak fashions that were left to you alone. 

Your bedroom I once thought I saw in Vogue 

In the library someone left on the wide oak 

Table - yellow, with gold inlay wallpaper. No 

Wainscoting (I regretted) but baseboards in 

Severe walnut, fresh white summery bureau 

On which a rich match of bottles stood arrayed. 

Cologne from where? How long? From what wartime 

Flowerfields drawn off? And then the stir of 

Conversation noting noon approached. The lunch for crowds 

Drawn ready—that was time, impolitic with new requests. 


The Greece of Quiet 

We must always remember that the great things 

Were material, were borrowed from earth and made 

Into the hope that, without matter, would have failed. 

No one can say how right this transformation was – 

The temple took its turn through stone, is all one says. 

As we, vibrant, move air out of our way, 

The temple made its way through stone 

Before taking on sleep. Before changing the slate sky. 

We who put small range to our pleasures – our garden 

Where we once decided daphnes or irises would 

Flair in the pleated soil - gives us  

Something like that quiet. But we 

Know we also are propelled to churn 

In our own bronze body, as we remember well when, in 

The city of that kind turn of time called youth, 

Playing and talking under stone or woven canopies, 

The brushed air pleading to have heaven find us 

Always upright, singing, clasping another’s hand 

To our breast, our brown arms in quiet sun, we turned 

In the eyes of all those looking, looking for happy repose. 


The Proprietors 

We have a love for you, but it is a  

Brief love. A night in blankets, a  

Poem on the radio, in the vast land  

Of the street a careful, well-meaning nod.  

We have a love for you if you can just  

Wait a minute while we answer the damned  

Phone. Take a mint, a cup of drab coffee  

In a styrofoam cuticle, a finger-cup.  

We know, you know this quick attention  

We call love will not sustain you, but  

We've managed to crawl out upon this ledge,  

This bookstore, coffeehouse, imported goods store,  

Where we demand the opportunity to lie  

In the small capital of sun  

We've earned. You are of course part  

Of it, we won't let the coffee go,  

Or fail to see how you've transformed  

Your tiny cuticle of realm into  

Intellectual paradises. But we have to do  

The books. It's time, in fact, it's  

Way past time. And you know the way out,  

Through the door that rings a stranded bell,  

To tell us you've gone, rather like  

Those quasars now and then in the newspaper  

Saying to a silent scientist some star  

Has wrapped the focus of its intent  

Around a blank nodule, cancer beam,  

For which we have no further mercy,  

No X-ray to explain our cold heart. 


We of All Saints 

We of all saints have shown the least devotion. 

At the time we were driving and the radio had gathered 

From passing farmscapes it seemed, with drifting silos 

That had the prettiness of ambition to round them out, 

Such pretty and relentless songs of love that could not 

Quiet the soul at 60 mph. We of all saints could reach into 

Wind by the window that our engineered wheels 

Created us into, we were the wind while the air was still 

Enough that corn waited in attention to the sun, it was 

Angelic on the road, and this was god enough. 

We of all saints spent lives that earth terrified 

Only occasionally with dying, the dog smacked into, 

The little newspaper girls trapped in photo'd wells 

Crying for their feet back on national TV. Prayers 

Were reinvented and placed in bookstores under signs 

Unsignifying but touching enough to say, someday, some- 

Day will come the colossal unsinging of unmercy's gold 

In a bookstore with the PA system's silence humming 

A heedless grace in the pretty stacks, sometime the saints 

Will arrive with rusty trombones, woodcut faces 

Blasted with hateful honor to add to traffic 

The whine of their ways, and we will wonder what  

Collegium set us to choir with their esteem, when 

The ride through the countryside with the radio's prayer 

Seemed more eventful than chapel myths, the mild farm 

Close enough to death with grazing beasts.