Two Songs from “The Eugeniad”

I

The sea jumps up on the rocks
it wants to crush my bones
With the waves snapping at my heels
I am scaling the sharp stones
What have I done that the sea
is trying to destroy me?

I was lost in a country of strangers
there was no one to let me in
not a second or third cousin not one
of my kith or kin
not even an in-law or an unrelated
friend I might have greeted

Nothing to do but sing my song

Where there is no bread   there may be fruit
where there is no grass   there may be roots
where there is no water   there may be rain
where there is no hope    there may be escape
but who would want to escape from a place where there are
bread and fruit, grass and roots
and clear water flowing from the mountain sides?
To escape from such a place is to leave hope behind.

I hewed through forests and crossed the cities
where no one knew my name
to reach my childhood hills and dales
but not a soul came
with food or songs of welcome home
and silent stood the around-stones

The one I dreamed of, where is she?
Can my dreams have so misled me?
Because I had no house, I made
a shelter of my song
and from it I cry out to whomever
chances to come along
Stop and listen   let me sing you
what mischance may chances bring you …

II

The same old time   the same old tide
the same old ragged hands
that scrub the stains and rusty drains
and crusted pots and pans
I wipe the sink and sweep the floor
without a key to my front door
And the boys to baseball they have gone
to baseball they have gone.

I asked for bliss   they gave me this
infernal disarry
that I must keep until I sweep
ten thousand things away
a broken watch   a broken pane
and there’s ten thousand more again
And the boys to baseball they have gone
to baseball they have gone

The hours alone like snow on stone
alike in whiteness pass
I change the fates   another waits
no different from the last
No eat, no drink there is for me
I watch the reruns on TV
And the boys to baseball they have gone
to baseball they have gone

The spire explodes   the fire unfolds
across the crowded square
and brightness breaks on every face
its fast and fixing stare
No time at all to feel the pain
the hero’s loss, the coward’s gain
And the boys to baseball they have gone
to baseball they have gone

The dice are tossed   the game is lost
the game is lost and won
the meadow fades   the wayward shades
rush home to Babylon
and leave me here to listen for
a stranger I have met before
And the boys to baseball they have gone
to baseball they have gone

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