Today's poem is by Christian Barter

[They are blowing the leaves from the grass at Princeton]
        "The world is very different now. For man holds in his mortal hands
        the power to abolish all forms of human poverty and all forms of
        human life."
                                        —John F. Kennedy

        "They also serve who only stand and wait."
                                        —John Milton

They are blowing the leaves from the grass at Princeton
boringly loud, an October morning,
while under the trees unleaving
unflappable statues balance declarations
on the backs of eagles and point their blank-eyed
horses home, where the paths crisscross

from church and lecture hall—the bags and backpacks,
the books and papers, phones out in front
(the world is very different now),
one Asian woman passing with a painting—

the coffees and teas, the chapels climbing
by steep roof lines the stairs to an ancient heaven,
the muscley columns pushing up marble,
the well-hoed gardens pushing up viburnum,
the Gothic library recalling a time
before movable type, one woman's curve
in a granite Lipchitz, a group of girls

laughing at how people miss
the most obvious truths, I mean, right?
a young lord on a skateboard
with his mind on his manor and his manor on his mind*

and always somewhere just out of sight
that leaf-blower's groan of lifting a heavy stone,
and someone, or something, pulling the rope of the bells
come back to tell them all, I shall tell you all—**

*"Rollin down the street, smokin indo, sippin on gin and juice / Laid back [with my mind on my money and my money on my mind]" Snoop Dogg. "Gin and juice."
**"To say: 'I am Lazarus, come from the dead, / Come back to tell you all, I shall tell you all'—" T.S. Eliot, "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock."

Copyright © 2017 Christian Barter All rights reserved
from Bye-Bye Land
BOA Editions
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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