by John Ciardi

John Ciardi

By ten we know the day is out of order:
Heat jams a melted slug in the clock's turnstile,
Piles up in the house like mobs, breathes down our necks,
Trains of it stall in soot across the room.

Our lives that fled from climate
To an enclosed air, return to climate,
Strip naked to a swelter of endurance.
A day of the mind's South.

Winters of energy
Grow dim as adolescence, a furious nuisance.
We think, as of incredible ignorance,
Where Northern legends of industry and merit
Annoy themselves in air-conditioned dooms,
Trade latitudes of the equatorial door.

Better this resignation in stone shade,
The Latin defeat and calm our sleeping dogs,
Too lax for savagery or acquisition,
Sprawled on the sun, their patient look
All given to being, a gentler way to die.

Collected Poems of John Ciardi

Last updated March 01, 2023