Joseph Spece

Call Lightning

Blameless me, you left
a cord of chunk elms
to mooring, got loose on the gone
water and the going.

All this without tasset, cuisse; this
from the patch of phlox, still near
mother’s whimsy call to tea.

It was there you figured
no passion could move the fish
to keel; no beard was to be got
in sight of wharves.

Blameless me. The sharp snap
of lead to standing paper
is cutting enough, and full of trouble.


Though they spread about the cell
with likewise hearty mien,
they could not share Socrates’

strong thrust of body.

Phaedo waited, perhaps,
for the infirmity
that made the thinker man—

yet the ship that returned
from Delos that morning
could not have shown surer attitude.

And when gaoler arrived
after Form and Form again
had took up sunning residence
in the philosopher’s speech, had touched

harbor at an earthly point,

even the hemlock
shone in its glass.

And how Simmias wept
when Socrates
had drunk and expired,
the rest dropping heads in woe;

and how each of the boys’ bodies became
columns of the Doric sort
quite suddenly then

and in much the mythic way—

attenuating, marbling, stiffening
in his honor, given over fully to concept
without any appreciable cry;

and how the grace of Zeus
must have taken good care

that their capitals grew corridors
through which Reckoning could swing
like a crude corded light

each of their dusky days.

The Night

After E. Satie’s Gymnopédies

It cannot be the rain
that makes musician

of herself no

The drop is not deliberate
though chord seems to state

that tonic’s to be found
matching the grids so

This music is making reef
out of bedside shelf

The lamp has gone adrift

Tell me if rain finds no craft

in making musician no

If harmony works so

and sorrows simply match

I shall hitch one and each
of these wounds to sound

I shall fall to knees in accord