Another Thomas Hardy night,
trees creaking, dreams ballooning
like aneurysms. Up early
to solve all of Shakespeare’s work
with a single word, I spot pianos
in the clouds, black keys sharking,
white keys dangling their smiles.
The rain doesn’t mean itself
but something else. The trees kneel
in homage to the pagan ideals
endorsed by local government.
I try to pet the cats but fear
has smelted their mind-muscles
and they pour away in waterfalls.
Time to count the leaves shucked overnight.
Each is a tiny factory
in the larger chemical vision
that empowers the atmosphere.
Each should receive the respect
due the green ingenuity
that keeps us inflated and wise.
But infected by the cats’ fear
I rise to myself, overwrought,
and try to step into the flow.
It rejects me the way Shakespeare did
fifty years ago, when childhood
with wrack and flush of vowels
vanished in handfuls of water.
Now the rain discolours everything
in a good cause. If wires come down
and knot in the trees, that’s only
a whiff of Prospero’s magic—
the dark side of the plotting
Thomas Hardy made of everything
he learned and passed on to me.
William Doreski lives in Peterborough, New Hampshire. His most recent book of poetry is Mist in Their Eyes (2021). He has published three critical studies, including Robert Lowell’s Shifting Colors. His essays, poetry, fiction, and reviews have appeared in many journals.