The Geese Are Very Tired
The geese are very tired of being invoked.
They’re sick of flight patterns being compared
to chevrons, checkmarks, eyebrows, fishhooks, penstrokes
of God, a holy name writ in autumn air.
Being a stock image is a lousy gig.
The geese are bored with time and changing seasons.
Look at the raven, that golden thingamajig
in Yeats, the nightingale-- now, they’ve got reasons
to go on flying into poetry!
The geese have ambitions! They defy restraint–
they just need an opportunity!
And so they honk their annual complaint
to their friends, the first crocuses of spring,
who bow their yellow heads, saying nothing.
October wants to make a fool of you.
It comes on strong: the hackneyed azure sky,
trees like swatches dipped in cut-rate dye,
rote check-marks of geese squawking through
(pity the noisome place they’re flying to!).
Goldenrod. Asters. Falling buckeyes
whacking hoods of cars and passers-by.
The world pretends it’s being made anew.
But you’re too clever to be taken in
by pretty tapestries whose every thread
was spun for shrouds. Frost accrues on deerskin
and bone, wastes of amorous leapers, on the roadbed.
Don’t be led astray. Remember Larkin:
you’re still working for toads, still fucked, still dead.