Summer Song For Strauss

Summer swoons and Strauss’ Four Last Songs play out
their dirge for the dying season, the polyphony
building in their mouths, their cheeks stuffed
full of the fecundity produced by decay.
Beautiful, yes; still,
I would stop this cycle if I could, this cycle
of song and death, decay and song.
Always with the building am I, not the Buddhist
detachment from the cycle,
not that rich sonority turning into dust on the tongue, descending
into silence, the peace the Buddhist craves, the wheel stopped
cold; how can I be reconciled to this?
Can these songs, swooning and burning in their luxurious descent,
slowly barging down the Nile to their deaths,
reconcile me to the beauty of cycles?
Instead, I ask for that golden swelling to continue
in its effortless building; convince me that the dynasty still reigns
beneath an impossible sun, that it never crumbled, that Osiris didn’t need to send our hearts
back down again, having been weighed against truth’s feather.

I ask for some deathless meadow
to hold those notes forever. Richard, tell me
a bright Spring lie.