• Farewell to Miles

    Summer 1943

    We are to tell one man tonight goodbye.
    Therefore in little glasses Scotch, therefore
    Inane talk on the chaise lounge by the door,
    Therefore the loud man, the man small and shy
    Who squats, the hostess as she has a nut
    Laughing like ancestor.  Hard, hard to find
    In thirteen bodies one appropriate mind,
    It is hard to find a knife that we can cut.

    The dog is wandering among the men
    And wander may: who knows where who will be,
    Under what master, in what company,
    When what we hope has not come again
    For the last time? Schedules, nerves will crack
    In the distortion of that ultimate loss;
    Sad eyes at frenzied eyes will look across,
    Blink, be resigned.  The men then will come back.

    How many of these are destined there? Not one
    But may be there, staring, but some may trick
    By attack or by some prodigy of luck
    The sly dog.  McPherson in the Chinese sun
    May achieve the annihilation of his will;
    The urbane and bitter Miles at Harvard may
    Discover in time an acid holiday
    And let the long wound of his birth lie still.

    Possibilities, dreams, in a crowded room.
    Fantasy for the academic man,
    Release, distinction.  Let the man who can,
    Does any peace know, now arise and come
    Out of the highballs, past the dog, forward.
    (I hope you will be happier where you go
    Than you or we were here, and learn to know
    What satisfactions there are.)  No one heard.

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