northanger (northanger) wrote,

XI. Vespa Vestals

American Poetry Review, The, Mar/Apr 1998 by St John, David

In the garden of the Virgins, that is,
The garden of the House of the Vestals
(Your sweater draped across your shoulders
As the narrow chill of the evening
Began to ribbon the Forum), you walked
With your head down, silent, a little amused,
But silent. Whatever else exists
In the daily mystery of service & denial
I doubt humor plays much of a part;
Yet there you were, at the ancient threshold
Of the ruins of the House—thinking
Whatever it was that you were thinking—the lush,
Complicated vines of spring already obscuring
The bare stones of the rooms around us.
Yet for some, I know, a little humor is all
That allows our frail dignity to fall
So far from silence, & service, or fortune....
To begin yet again as if, each time one loved,
One loved as a virgin, helplessly, if faithlessly
Until the life that was once long ago imagined
Begins laughing again, silently, in the ruins.

Tags: poetry

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