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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