Collected Poems of John Holmes
Holmes, John A., Jr.
At first I saw the room in clearest light:
Evening interior, smooth wall, lamps bright;
The large round people foreground in a frame
Of a picture I had made and could not name.
It was my house, and these almost my friends,
And the evening would end as any evening ends .
Look through new ice on a deep country pond:
You'll see no farther than I could see beyond
That evening's people saying yes and no
And nothing. What am I here for? Where shall I go?
The hung glass at the question's hammer tap
Cracked suddenly into a thin nameless map,
And the crazed monstrous friendly faces spoke
Behind it among the lamps. Until it broke
I searched the veins and roadways on that chart,
The contours round a highland fortress heart .
Still they said no, and yes, and nothing, said
It as though their dearest work till they were dead
Was yes; nothing, and no. And so good night
At last, once more good night, and under the light
Outside my door one man turned back, head low,
And hard at the mouth; and, Go, he said, Go.