The Charles River : Robert Lowell

[Lowell is the master. If you can read the final lines without getting dizzy then you must reread this until you fall over.]


The Charles River


The sycamores throw shadows on the Charles,
as the fagged insect splinters, drops and joins
the infinite that scatters loosening leaves,
the long-haired escort and his short-skirted girl.
The black stream curves as if it led a lover—
my blood is pounding; in workaday times,
I take cold comfort from its heartelation,
its endless handstand round the single I,
the pumping and thumping of my overfevered wish….
For a week my heart has pointed elsewhere:
it brings us here tonight, and ties our hands—
if we leaned forward, and should dip a finger
into this river’s momentary black flow,
infinite small stars would break like fish.

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