Marsh Hawk Review is an online poetry journal sponsored by the Marsh Hawk Press collective. Marsh Hawk Review will appear twice a year, under the revolving editorship of collective members. Each issue will offer a selection of poems solicited by the editor, in addition to new work posted by poets in the collective.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Barry Goldensohn

Late Quartet


The second violin is a beautiful woman, Korean,

in a skin tight black dress, whose entire

body expresses every note she plays

but the real action, alas, is in the square

suit named Pigeon, the first violin.

The passion that pours from him leaves

him looking unmoved, untouched. His thin

face is pinched into a dead smile while she heaves

and lunges through her dull repeats, repeats.

How contained this storm is, in its little crock.

But this crock contains, however, seven oceans

and all the continents except ice-locked

Antarctica, with its penguins, its fabulous narwhal,

its dull walrus, all deplorably unmusical.


********



At the Frick


His eyes are narrowed not to miss a cue

for what to say that Henry wants to hear—

the ingratiating, serviceable face,

the richly furred language of the body

open and welcoming—Thomas Cromwell

by Holbein. Then Holbein’s Thomas More

with a steady, penetrating glance, mouth

set in a skeptical turn, all wariness,

having a self to possess, possessing it.

Both men painted from life, alive

in the same room again, in New York:

More resisting the King, Cromwell saying

(no euphemisms, no disguises)

just what the King wants: Kill More.

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