James Schuyler, p.1


Doll house furniture, whose charm
is disparity of scale and bright surprise:
meagre lilacs, lilac or white, on the sixth
bloom in the spare clear air, as though for a birthday.
Happy birthday, Anne.

The windows of Our Lady of Poland,
rich and big in a small church
glowing in frosty dead elm leaf and ocean smell evenings,
sumptuous, like sumptuary laws,
which I hope regulate festive adornment
not restrict it.

November passes, quick as passing
the windows of Our Lady of Poland, from the station
to the house, in a wealth of Saints' days:
best wishes, Lizzie, on St. Elizabeth the Queen's day
(the glass bounded, a gentle sign, unshattered
down the rocks), best wishes Kates,
although I confess, an American, I think
of bright, lovely, young Catherine of Alexandria
most on July Fourth: you know, Catherine's wheels,
spiraling in the dusk. Nailed to a tree, a sweet conversion.

There are no or few November flowers
here, after a hurricane, lilacs
bloomed, and for my birthday weekend
Fairfield put robbed, dark blossoms in an Eastern bowl.
Leaning out of scale by the guest room bed,
four posted, without a tester:
except testy I. A few unseasonal branches of delight
blooming in their green heart shape leaves for
Miss Kelly, whose view of miracles is reasonable
and strict. I agree (or like it both ways).

November, month of St. John of the Cross,
the saint it is easy to imagine the patron
of poets: and if I am wrong, I am sorry
and grateful, recalling, a war ago,
walking down Third Avenue in New York
with a thin book of his poems while trains roared.

November 1960