Rather, I would have liked
that we had been golden siblings,
arm-in-arm along the lakeshore,
or hair flying on white bicycles,
past the haunted mansions,
past the boat clubs and peaks of clean sail
fluttering on blue sheets of broken diamonds.
No words are needed when there is much to say,
but words fill me with silence when I think of you,
and when I think of you, you are always Grosse Pointe.
The sun was in you then, lakeshores and discovery,
History was in you, life;
good teen anger and all that great music, too.
Today, there is nothing new to report.
Soft evasions and degradations, everything
the assisted-suicide of a culture of fun;
the blood thinning, the memorials mocked;
countries that long ago stopped being nations,
and children who long ago stopped being young…
Where are they, the loves of the collegiate season,
the fires of the mind
that light the campus path,
and warm frosts and leaves
and the arms of college girls who hold their books tightly to the chest,
a curtain of hair that falls over a lowered lid, the lid lowered over the mind’s eye,
that traces the lyric of a heart swollen in private song…
Where is the ardor of the collegiate hour,
the time of talking of books that talk about other books,
in language that illumines like a newborn star
across the constellation of the senses
—a pure heaven of the human mind—
that made you smile in secret,
that made you look to the girls of the collegiate season
and cry inside, “Don’t change—never change!”
For this is the sickness that really kills:
the high crime of human innocence.
Run down the path to the old, haunted mansion,
golden siblings hand-in-hand;
an old man who barks: no trespassing!
You laugh, but we run away, anyway—
Run up the field to the mighty tree,
the warrior tree of great and ancient battles,
and the knightly games
that were the honor of after-school: exhausted centurions and happy seekers of justice
until the daylight sky began to bleed evening…
Run to the hilltop,
to the large, space-ship rock (who put it there?) on top of the hill,
put there for all of our planned galactic travels together,
there, where we’d have lift-off to new shores, starry shores…
Once upon a time, this was the top of the world—remember?
Books on the topic of this poem may be found in The Imaginative Conservative Bookstore.