Frozen Leaves: A Washington Epic II
Canto II – The Mall
“Sage of Innocence”
The wind now covers my frozen face
With icy cold – I blush
As if my skin was canvas: Glaze
Me, shrieking, unfazed and lush.
Spring and summer are still – feeble and very faint
Little memories. Dead – dead among snow-white paint.
Sleepy waiting for better
Days –unwritten and bitter plays.
While sauntering along a nation’s mall
And passing Smithson’s stylish, stony grave –
So, red, unworldly, castle-like and tall,
Still staring, daring age and winds. How brave.
Now, swiftly passing on to Hirschhorn’s rave.
So grey a monument to art – its slave.
It’s looking cynical and feeling naught.
A gallery that pushes me like a wave,
Oh, deep into the roiling sea of thought.
I’m drowning in the dreary dreadful heart of God.
Barely noticed, freezing, seizing me now, stops me at its rear side –
Wispy, like the wondrous salty seaside scent and blending
That the winds will carry from the Potomac into the District –
Just a hint of sage-like fragrance and I stand there stunned, surrendering.
Swift and short in its suspension, sifts the silky smell suspending
Sauntering so sudden that it brings my journey quite an ending.
But as quiet as it came, it’s quickly gone – as if to hide.
Sniffing like an elder dog, I turn quite sharply to my right.
Now the silent scent is gone and I can’t simply start pretending
That imagination played a trick, but passing into mystic
Spheres, I find myself now standing in a park so Hellenistic,
Crossing not just spaces, but a timeline, feeling voyeuristic.
Resisting all the flow that tried to push me
Away from this enchanting small enclave
Of peace amid the buzzing busy bee
That man is in his roiling daily rave.
I feel like fleeing from an early grave!
A flight from all the milling people’s dire!
Relief just floods me like a wanton wave
And I am brave just like the castle’s spire.
I make a step into seclusion to retire.
Treading into the park, gazing around I see
Flowers, rotten and dead, resting around a queer
Fountain, trying to watch me,
Judging why I might enter here.
It springs out of a sad bed of snow,
Blue marbles at its foot
From which the stone now seems to flow –
And branching three bowl-like boughs.
No water there, of course, no waterfalls.
But every single basin filled with dead,
Dried sage and vegetation – and like snowballs,
White light bulbs lying in the flower’s bed.
On top of Semiramis’ hanging gardens,
A cherub sits and holding in his arm
A struggling fish that the angelic warden
Will force in spring to water and to farm.
I look around the frozen flaky leaves
Which many see as desolate and tragic
Victims of, oh so, cold and cruel thieves.
To me suspension always equaled magic.
But strange enough, I sigh and turn and leave.
But grateful, smiling, happy that I entered
This tiny garden here and that I ventured
Into my soul that had a sigh to heave.
The innocence of rotten ravished flowers
Who in their dreary deaths do still remain,
Is but a shadow and it overpowers
Just any feeling, any thought of pain.
And overhead the moving clouds break open,
Thus leaving me to wondering walk beneath,
Blue skies and golden Sun as sealing token,
of what the garden still had to bequeath
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