nthposition online magazine

Gold and gloom

by Donald Brown

[ poetry - april 09 ]

Rich sunlight gilds New Haven,
coats in gold the gloating spires,
crenellated towers, cast-iron scaffolding.

Colonial brick and brooding stone
turn sepia; late autumn leaves,
brown and crisp, bask in the glow.

The world is glad to be golden, displayed
for the best offer. Though auctions always
hurt our pride, we brace ourselves

to make what use we may of what little
we have, knowing how soon even ripe sun
must wane upon November's dull slate.

Adrift on an idle hour, I'll admit
I missed my chance; of all the words
I might use, the easiest to say are these:

I have no You, dear. The price
is too high and I, staggered by the gold
given me so long ago - or was it stolen

like an apple, like a kiss, like fire
from that somber voice of lilting warning -
creep through the leaves, a spider

fallen from my O so luminous gossamer web.
I spin no more, neither do I sow
and yet the Lord Thy God hast forsaken me.

The buildings now are flat, fixed and opaque,
the grin of gold dimmed like a smile
that flared upon the stairs, descending

past my climb to a shoddy room
and early winter gloom.