William F Dougherty

(West Hartford, CT)

Sanctuary in Elizabeth Park


(For Wallace Stevens)

The scholars stalking first ideas ransack
his park for origins; they frisk each bush
for cryptic tropes and trample ferns to mark
correlatives, perhaps unearth a cache
of adages or orb of opulence
to add to his beguiling arabesques,
those acts of mind, his fictive world. They sense
he's there, a fugitive from asterisks.

An emblematic toad anticipates
that Hartford's purple light will soon congeal
and close the park; then he'll articulate
the prodigies imagined from the real
and decreate the world to civil song:
he bides his breath and holds his triggered tongue.

Submitted: Friday, February 11, 2011
Edited: Monday, May 14, 2012

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