Let us praise poets who are not afraid
of Therefore – or of other wingless words
that do what they are told, and nothing more.
The shiny words fly in with their ideas
scattering light, and settle on the hand
of these old neighbours, friends from Lexicon Street:
their wooden arms hold up such procreant cradles,
such rainbow angels – and such smelly fiends –
almost invisibly, like the anonymous tree
on which the phoenix sat, and sang, its claws
grasping the bark, sensing the ancient hardness
that lets us flash our iridescent scales.
With them we praise Lucretius, his great song
of Whatsoever – the nature of the world.
He picked his way among the filmy visions
and saw how sheep speckle a mountain-side,
and how the breathing earth creates big waves.
But also, at his marriage to the muse,
we saw them, hurrying off toward the Void,
being caught in a shower of atoms, the confetti
of If and Then and Since and Or and And.