Garrett Caples

The Comeshots; or, Variations on a Theme by Gerrit Lansing

tossed upon his couch
the floating smell of flowers

the moonless-passing night
conscious of the secret dawn

roams with morning thoughts
all fresh from sleeping

the bloom of pure repose
musical with busy bliss

trembled as with excess
and heat was frail, and

every bush was overcome
diffusing light on all the world

as a flower after drenching rain
heard thunder and little after

flame blown backward by a gust
murmuring god, at last he spoke

and smiled as on his favorite isle
in a deep deliberate bliss

the history of a flower in air
liable to breezes and time

rich and purposeless
doomed to be beautiful

to grow, not strive
merely to be sweet

favorite of his rains
and thou indeed lately

cool to all things great
the fierce ingratitude

greenly silent and
cool-growing night

beginning pale with cruelty
full of languor and distaste

dispersed upon the whirling sands
blown seaward on nocturnal blast

doom makes you rich and exquisite
my ecstasy of flinging beams

scattering without intermission
ocean unto ocean flash

tender tasks to steal upon the sea
expected bliss to tossing men

bring on the deeper green
to lure into air

to shine on the unforgiven
with slow sweet surgery

to pity rather than aspire
might indeed provoke invasion

like strange sleep
the sea has striven to say

of other times and lands
of lives in many stars

soul of the early sky
the priest of bloom

the large view of subjected seas
in meditation plunged

with the benignly falling hours
to shine on the rejected

i can but speak
most human words

their sea-weary eyes
no eternity can close

as sobbing runners breast
perfect stillness of the ground

my ashes shall console
lonely antagonists

their death is ever mine
when comes the lonely wail

of sadness we made this world
the sea sighs in our brain

that yearning of the moon
out of a human womb

not eager to forego it
to elude the heaviness

through liquid bliss
i must grow old

fields burned by the setting sun
shall touch his hand

the first and secret kiss
the insane farewell

waning light of eyes
too deeply gazed in

the years that gently bend us
leave behind a wholesome memory

Photo: Suzanne Kleid

Garrett Caples

Garrett Caples is the author of three books of poetry, most recently Power Ballads (Wave, 2016). He has also written a book of essays called Retrievals (Wave, 2014), about various overlooked artists and writers. He is an editor at City Lights, where he curates the Spotlight Poetry Series, and his latest editorial project, Preserving Fire: Selected Prose by Philip Lamantia, will appear in the fall from Wave Books.