On Pledging

She does not deserve to disappear.

A brushstroke beginning bright, heavy…with a large transfer of paint onto the canvas—proceeding in a fluent, sweeping gesture toward some distant point, spanning the horizon…

The Plate

When the serving girl’s hands

drop the pale round plate

the color of clouds

the pieces have to be picked up

while the light trembles overhead

in the masters’ dining room

and the old school stammers

an uncertain mythology

in which one hears the names

when the wind stops

of all the false gods.

–Jean Follain (translated from the French by W. S. Merwin)

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