Seven Books


I will only write about books that are on my bookshelves now; if the book is not here, then I won’t mention it, so I won’t be mentioning books like The Idiot, which may have been the book that changed me the most: the person I was when I started it was not the person I was when I finished it because reading it was being at the right place at the right time when I was beginning to think as a writer (1973), working in a lock & key factory in North Philadelphia, doing Yoga, and reading the Bhagavad Gita—I was depressed having come out of a love affair that turned out to be unrequited: I fell in love with a man who loved women, but loved me too, and so much so that we were affectionate lovers until he left me to travel through Europe to India, and when he was coming back, he was getting married. I was devastated and felt (knew) I would never find another love like him—But I began to do yoga, and the meditation and The Idiot all centered me and for the first time in my life I began to think. I mean sit in one place and think; in my whole life I had been thinking running in place. I was a writer who had no idea what to write. I felt the field wasn’t fallow as much as the spring had dried up—and instinctively I told myself that I should clean up my act—Drinking and barbiturates had me pretty much lying in that gutter Wilde talked about looking up at the stars—so no drinking—although from time to time smoking pot though—and I began saving money because I was going to travel too just like my ex—monkey see, monkey do—but I couldn’t go to India where he was so I decided to go in the opposite direction—I was going to Peru—I got a second job at a bus garage where I watched over the place at night, had my day job at the lock and key factory—and crashed at my friend Joan Laurilla’s apartment in Germantown—I slept in her bed from around 4 in the afternoon till around 9 while she worked—for the several months I was there we never saw each other—I had to be at the bus garage by 10, work all night and then go to the lock & key factory in the morning, then I’d go to Joan’s and sleep. So, for several months I worked two jobs, slept five hours, and read a great deal traveling from one job to the other. The Idiot began the year, and as I was working and planning to leave, another book, perhaps the greatest book that has ever influenced me came into my hands: Leaves of Grass, and it was seminal: I had lost the spirit of a writer, I didn’t know how to write, and Whitman told me how you do it: Be yourself. Be you, that’s all you need: you are enough. Though this takes a long time to learn, it was Whitman who got me started. I love him. During 1973, The Idiot and Leaves of Grass changed my life.

The Unquiet Grave was the next influential book I would read in early 1974. I read it on a bus from a border town in Ecuador to Lima, Peru. There were some Americans on the bus too—travelers, all young men who sat together at the back—it was kind of a business class bus—maybe it was even air-conditioned, but I am probably making that up. It wasn’t a common folks bus with chickens, and children, and sacks of provisions with everyone hanging out the windows. It should have been a nice bus ride, but it wasn’t. In Ecuador at the border at the pharmacy all the Americans stocked up on drugs—you didn’t need a prescription to get barbiturates or amphetamines. One of us, a good looking tall kid who was a surfer and heading for some particular Peruvian beach—he forgot that we were not in Pasadena, and got really fucked up on downers, and began to bother a father and daughter a few seats in front of us on the left side of the bus, the father on the aisle, his beautiful teenage daughter looking out the window—the California surfer took a liking to the daughter and would call out from time to time, “Hey, Señorita!” which annoyed and then infuriated the father who’d turn around and scowl at him, and us.

Then the surfer had to go to the bathroom—there was not one on the bus—the bus made stops—the surfer went up to the bus driver and told him that he had to do number one, but it was one of those conversations where neither knew the other language, so the surfer came back to the back where we Americans sat, and in horror watched as he took out his cock and, standing in the middle of the aisle, tried to urinate into the hole in the coconut he had been drinking from. Naturally, he missed and the stream of urine went down the aisle, and wouldn’t you know it, it wet the arm of the father whose daughter the surfer had been harassing. The father turned around, as did everyone on the bus, and when the livid father yelled, the driver stopped, dragged the surfer and threw him off the bus. I thought the driver was going to drive off leaving him to die in the endless northern Peruvian desert, but then the driver had all of us get off, while he made the surfer, who really had no idea what the hell was going on, get back on the bus and mop up his urine with a rag. At the next stop, which was a military post, all the Americans were told to get off, and in the presence of many machine guns, we were all strip searched for drugs—I had none, and looking back suppose the drugs bought at the pharmacy were legal—anyway, nothing happened, all of us Americans got back on the bus together, and were the pariahs for the rest of the way to Lima.

I did have The Unquiet Grave to read. I am not sure how it came into my hands. Someone along the way from Cartagena to where I was now had given it to me. The book made me want to know other languages. The author quoted authors in their own languages so if you didn’t know Latin or French, you were lost a bit. “Why write,” the author asked, “if you aren’t aiming to write a masterpiece?” That question stuck with me. The Unquiet Grave introduced me to Montaigne, and Chamfort, and made me want to read Byron’s Don Juan and Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs du Mal. Montaigne’s essays are remarkable, and if you haven’t read them, I can’t recommend them enough. Reading them would, like the whole trip to South America, help me to know how to think, to sit quietly by myself and figure it out. The Unquiet Grave paved the way; or showed me the way might be a better way of saying it. The Unquiet Grave you see here I actually bought for my nephew Matthew, but I haven’t given it to him yet.


How far back can you remember? I have always felt that I can remember being in my mother’s womb, but my first memories occur during the age of two. My father was a bookkeeper who worked at a stone quarry that also was a business hired to pave roads in Pennsylvania. Sometimes my father would take a truck of gravel to a work site. My first memory is my mother being pregnant with my brother Scott and us going with my father in the truck for a long distance haul that took the whole day. What I remember well is the restaurant where we had dinner where what I really remember well is the dessert I got, a clown sundae. There was a scoop of vanilla ice cream for the head with a pointed cone for the cap, cherries for eyes—I’m not sure about the mouth, but I remember the collar of whipped cream that went around. It was the first thing ever to appear to me magically, and I remember the waitress making a fuss.

My father drove me to this sundae, my mother held me. I ate the food that came. My parents talked and I listened. All babies are born capable of hearing every sound that is spoken in every language, but begin to pronounce the sounds of the words they hear. This is why Spanish babies begin to speak Spanish, and French babies will never speak Chinese. At the age of seventy, learning Chinese for me would be nearly impossible because my old ears could never differentiate the pitches that in Chinese are essential, pitches that every baby ear so recently born can easily hear.

I suppose if children are captives, they are also themselves looking out at the world as it evolves around them. Whether they are loved or whether they are beaten or made to beg on the street all day they are who they are. That being said, I do think I am partly what my parents read to me. I enjoyed hearing a story and looked forward to it. I remember especially the fairy tales, Jack in the Beanstalk and Tom Thumb. Aesop’s Fables was a big one, and the Old Testament—I mean really, Noah’s Ark, David and Goliath, it doesn’t get much better than that.

I remember the first word that I could read myself, an obvious word. We were learning the alphabet in first grade, and Miss Reed was saying Ssssssnake for S and Kerchoo! for K, but then there was Dick and Jane and the first word they said was, “Look.” And we all looked. And there was the word with two O’s round as our eyes. We looked at Look and Look looked back at us. It was what it was doing. I got it. “Look, Jane, look. See Spot run.” And just like Spot, we first graders took off.

Many years ago, when my friend Patti was going to Paris, she asked me if I wanted anything, and I said, “Bring me back the Fairy Tales of Charles Perrault.” I’m always learning French, and when you already know the story, it’s always easier to recognize the words though they are in another language. Les Contes de Perrault with illustrations by Gustave Dore. To read these seminal fairy tales is to go back to the first child even before there were books listening to a story coming from their mother or their father’s mouth.

As soon as I could read, I read what my parents read to me, the French, English and German fairy tales. On my own I branched out to the Greek, the Norse myths, Aladdin and Ali Baba, heroes and heroines like George Washington, William Tell, Harriet Tubman, and Clara Barton, all on the edge of my seat books for me, but if I had to choose the favorite from childhood, I might say The Jungle Book, a book I read at night before I went to sleep and I remember fighting off the sleep so I could go on and on with it. Every child loves Mowgli though in the real world Mowgli could never go back and be a boy: Mowgli would remain a wolf. By the age of three our brains are formed and the language we hear we begin to know. By the age of seven we’re pretty much set in stone. So the child raised by wolves or apes remains a wolf or an ape. A child raised in the dark will never see.

I asked my mother if she remembered the trip where I had the clown sundae. She did, and filled me in on the details. I didn’t remember she was pregnant with my brother Scott, and though I remembered the truck, I didn’t know why it took all day. “It was one of the happiest days of my life,” my mother remembered. “It was my first memory,” I thought. If we want this to be a better world, the first thing we have to do is to take better care of all of the children. Children have no control. They are blank canvases that for awhile other people paint on.


Where do you like to read? Where is your most comfortable spot? I remember reading in my childhood living room under the shade of an iron rod lamp near the fireplace; I really liked that spot, and read and wrote there. I grew up in the mountains where I walked and often took books. Sometimes I’d camp out for a couple days and read. In New York, on East 9th Street, there is a day bed in the writing room with one window that looks south toward the new World Trade Center, which you can still see, although not as well as you could see the Twin Towers. Since 9/11 many new buildings have been built on all of those burned out LES vacant lots, so the view is not as full as the old days when at night the lights of lower Manhattan shine the Land of Oz. I like to read in bed.

I’m sitting now at my favorite spot along the East River in East River Park, a mile and a half to get here and a mile and half to get back home. It is May the 13th, a beautiful morning. Two Chinese women, one with a walker, are walking and talking with masks on. Bikers ride by with masks dangling from their necks. Two pairs of cops stopped and gave me masks. I have four now plus the one I have on. In back of me, in back of the bench, there’s a man with a big sack digging up dandelions with a knife. We nod, don’t speak the same language, but I smile and say, “Delicious.” Every language understands delicious. Perhaps there’s something in the sound that makes the dandelion digger agree. I’m sitting reading Shakespeare’s sonnets, sonnets by Juan Ramón Jiménez, and poetry by Pablo Neruda from a book called Plenos Poderes, Fully Empowered. I’ve often read these guys during a walk over the years and they are still with me now.

I’m sitting where I’ve sat many times. Over the past forty years I’ve done a lot of reading and writing here. There is the Brooklyn Bridge, there’s the Statue of Liberty, there was the World Trade Center before 9/11. A few years ago, NYC put a ferry landing here at my favorite spot and called it Corlears Hook which I never knew till they put the sign up. The ferries that stop here can take you to Brooklyn or Queens or Roosevelt Island, and obstruct the view of the Statue of Liberty which you used to be able to see clearly, another example of how something new gets in the way of what already has been here, though only those alive at the time will ever know.

As a child walking through the South Mountain, I didn’t look in books so much as I looked under rocks and logs for fascinating snakes and pretty salamanders. Looking into a book or under a rock are kind of the same thing: the hope of a surprise, of that certain something. Juan Ramón Jiménez is with me now, as beautiful as any salamander you would find under a rock. I first met him in a bookstall in a dusty Mexican market many years ago and we have been friends since. Sad as he is, there is a lot of joy in him, and he loves me and I love him. What follows is a sonnet by Juan Ramón Jimenez with my translation very quickly written this morning, the third sonnet in Sonetos Espirituales

Mientras la última luz de la esperanza
alumbre débilmente mi camino,
yo iré, sonriendo and fiel, a mi destino,
contento, como un niño, de la andanza.

¡Ay, que vivir de bienaventuranza
la de un amor guardado, este divino
fuego que un día se regala, fino,
en una primavera sin mudanza!

Mas que me quitas tú esa luz, oscuro
quedará mi existir, y astrosas neiblas
decorarán mi corazon, que escombra

el sol. Me olvidaré el cielo puro,
llegaré ver la luz de las tinieblas
y haré lo que se hace entre la sombra.

With the last rays of hope
weakly lighting my way
I go smiling faithfully toward my fate
as happy as a child on its own.

I once thought life’s blessings
were guarded by love, like the divine
sun giving itself away on a fine
unchanging day of spring.

As much the light that leaves
that much darkness remains
as the sun beginning to set

grows small. I will forget that I could see
at all and accustom myself to the shade
making do with whatever’s left.

The sonnet has to do with walking, walking as it’s getting dark. Right now it’s bright, not dark at all. Corlears Hook where a ferry docks to pick up a few passengers is a little bit of land that protrudes out into the East River. There used to be an infamous little slum here full of taverns and whorehouses that catered to the ships coming in. What shall we do with the drunken sailor? Two hundred years ago what would I be seeing? A lot of happy sailors. A lot of happy whores. Where the Native Americans dug up oysters and clams, ships docked and sailors found love the best they could, and I now sit too. What’s next? Only darkness? Ah, yes, you might say, but followed by the light again. No wonder I am drawn to this place. You can’t help but think of Hart Crane, who by the way is wonderful to take on a walk and read


When I was 24 in 1974 I got hepatitis from sharing a dirty needle; if this would have happened a decade later in 1984 during the AIDS crisis, I probably would not be telling you this now because I’d be dead. I was very sick, had it so bad I thought I might die, and with that thought in mind came some regrets like all of the books I had wanted to read, but had never read. This included Sometimes A Great Notion by Ken Kesey, which may be the great American novel, folks. There was The Brothers Karamazov, Huckleberry Finn and Moby Dick as well on the list. Added to that was Shakespeare, whom I had read, but I had never felt completely comfortable with. Renaissance English is almost another language; it is that era when the language, with the publication of books, was beginning to set and become pretty much what it is. But, the language of Shakespeare is so different it is often foot-noted and annotated, and let’s face it, for many it might as well be almost Spanish or French.

With Shakespeare, what I did was this. Although I was bedridden, I had a friend go to the public library and bring back albums of the plays. Everything was on long playing albums in those days. I went through each play three times. The first time I listened to the recording and read along, then I only listened to the recording, and then I read the play on its own. If I was listening to Antony and Cleopatra, for example, with Paul Scolfield and Vivien Leigh in the lead roles, the nuances of the English, its rhythm, the humor, the fluidity of one scene into the other, was delivered by those amazing professionals. Listening to Vivien Leigh, I remember, was absolutely hallucinogenic. It was like being on acid. Don’t laugh. Having hepatitis is like being on acid. You are already another color when you look in the mirror. Anyway, Vivien Leigh as Cleopatra, there is nothing more beautiful.

My favorite play has always been The Tempest. But so many of them are really up there. This goes without saying. I read Titus Andronicus, and The Merry Wives of Windsor, which is so funny I had to laugh out loud. Thanks to the recordings and living through Shakespeare’s starts and pauses, I did get to know him pretty well. For me, two others make English as beautiful as Shakespeare: John Keats and Bob Dylan.

In Shelter from the Storm when Dylan sings

I was burned out from exhaustion, buried in the hail
Poisoned in the bushes an’ blown out on the trail
Hunted like a crocodile, ravaged in the corn
“Come in,” she said, “I’ll give you shelter from the storm,”

I simply can almost not believe the empathy in that line

hunted like a crocodile, ravaged in the corn

and the sound of it mixed with the lyric inherent in it; it strikes me like magic—I have cried—for me it is one of the better things ever written in English. Like much of Keats or Shakespeare, you could carve it in stone.

If there really is any such thing as magic, I do think 3 is a magic number and if you are trying to understand something in your own language or in another, studying it three times does make it sink in and go from short term memory to the long term. When I teach English, I always tell my students, “Listen three times, study it three times, say it three times.” I often suggest listening to singers like Sam Cooke, Ella Fitzgerald, Patsy Cline, and Frank Sinatra. If you listen to Patsy Cline sing Crazy three times and you don’t get it, I don’t know what to tell you, kid.


I’m not sure where to begin so why not begin with John Keats. I started to read him in 1973 when I was 23, a Signet Classic paperback that didn’t have all of the work, just the hits. I’d begun to write poetry at the age of 16, and locally got a little famous, even winning a prize from the Pennsylvania Poetry Society that had a celebration in Harrisburg where I got a hundred dollar check, which in 1965 was a lot. It kind of went to my head. My English teacher, Mrs Yaklich, who had sent the winning poem to Harrisburg, had a colleague at Millersville State College, Dr. Lingenfelter, who had been good friends with Robert Frost. Through him she sent some of my poems to Louis Untermeyer and John Wheelock, who responded, especially Untermeyer, with some praise for my work. At 16 I had no idea what I was doing, why people liked it or what the fuss was about. “You pick an image,” my friend Fred Harris said: “and you go with it.”

I began to emulate the crazy artist—you had to be crazy—I swallowed that myth. I would say to Crazy Youth now, “Don’t try to be crazy; life’s crazy enough.” But what does youth know? The poetry I wrote began to copy others because I had no idea who I was. I gave up. I flunked out of college, drifted here and there, had menial jobs. I was ashamed of myself. But in 1973, Whitman and Keats, reading them encouraged me to write poems again, especially one I wanted to call Fucking. That would grab people’s attention, and it was going to be long like Song of Myself or Endymion. In certain ways Walt showed me how to be a poet, and in another way John showed me how to sound. And what their gift was: I remained myself.

In 1976, I bought a Penguin paperback of John Keats, the complete works—the Signet Class was worn to shreds—with a painting of Diana and Endymion of the cover, and I took it with me when I went to the South Mountain to finish my first draft of Fucking. It was all in pieces and I was determined during my stay to put it all together in one flowing piece. The plan was to stay for a week. I pitched my tent where a stream from springs falls down the mountainside over huge rocks the size of dinosaurs, a beautiful spot close to where I grew up, solitary, the perfect place to create. I brought along a lot of oranges, raisins and figs which would keep, a lot cheese, an ounce of pot, John Keats, and LSD. There was mint and berries to gather, and I’d drink from the stream. In Philadelphia at this time there were performance poets. The first and the one I really liked was Marty Watt. When I watched Marty, I felt instinctively that what I had to do was memorize Fucking and give it one flow. I was determined to finish it and perform.

It was July. I had during that summer a handsome stoned lover in Philly who smelled of patchouli, and in the mountain that smell was everywhere, a fragrance that brought an erotic life to things when I remembered him, and read Endymion. On acid with the rocks and trees becoming the spirits of nymphs and satyrs embodying them, I would stand up on a rock and recite Fucking out loud. Once I started, I could not stop. I had to get through it no matter what. It was work when I got to a broken spot and had to create a bridge to keep the poem real and flowing. Here is a part of the poem about making love to the earth, which was what I was feeling at the moment as I spoke it:

I go into the forest
alone and hidden in the ever breathing
to dig an indenture with my fingers
and undressing, kneeling down
pierce the dead leaves
to move among the earthworms
balled in the mouths of corpses
out of which all things come growing
so occupied with the desire
I had no choice in choosing
but endlessly complete
I do not crush or brush away
the gnat and deer fly lighting
on my buttocks, shoulders, thighs
sucking their existence from my skin.
I let them knowing I am
nothing more and nothing less
than a sustenance for others needing
what they have no choice in choosing.
I clutch the grass with tightened fists
and kiss the orb that held my birth
and holds my death
spinning me through the universe
toward universes limitless
as one slender vine of wild rose
comes to scrape along my ribs.

One night I heard other campers a little ways off over the sound of the waterfalls. I’m not afraid of camping alone; I’m not afraid of the dark, but the voices, unexpected and unwanted, were menacing. The next morning a pretty much naked Tarzan came crashing through the bushes, barefooted through the thorny brush. All he had on was a torn pair of jeans practically torn down to nothing—I mean you could see his testicles. There were three campers: this Tarzan fellow, a transsexual with shoulder-length hair who at the time was a man with breasts, but was going very soon to John Hopkins for a sex change, and someone I knew, the younger brother of a classmate from high school, whose name was David Donley, who sadly would die of AIDS some twenty years later. But at the moment, David put a face on this pansexual menagerie, and convinced me I was not hallucinating. I recited some of Fucking for them. They approved, thought the title was wonderful, and then they were gone leaving me alone to carry on.

Poets memorizing their work is a good thing. Memorizing the work also helps to edit it; only what’s necessary remains. Poetry is traveling one place to another, and when you memorize it, you get rid of the excess baggage because it is too heavy to carry—as you get down to the essential you begin to feel comfortable and able to go on with what at that spoken moment is really the truth. By the end of the week I could recite Fucking from one end to the other. The spirit of Keats is certainly in it, but the poem is mine, and the spirit of the place, but most of all it is the determination.

A decade or so later at an East Village poetry reading, I recited the part of Fucking about fucking the earth, and Richard Hell, who was also reading, recited a poem—I believe from memory too—of coming upon a doe in the woods and having oral sex with her. I’ve been thinking of getting a hold of Richard Hell and see if he remembers and has it. I’d like to put him on my blog reading it. I see him around. You must be sure in this crazy time of ours to have something to look forward to.


When I was born in 1949, the atomic bomb, no matter how righteous the argument, left Americans with the Pandora’s Box they’d also dropped, and everyone was worried about it. In 1954, I began to worry about it too at the movies where Uncle Al, back from the Korean War and staying with us, often took me. In Them, watching the irradiated giant ants take over Los Angeles with the hero, James Whitmore dying in their radioactive mandibles at the end, I just knew something awful was about to happen.

Up to the age of thirteen, fears of the Atomic Age gave way to fears of Armageddon, both fears being the same, the end of life as I knew it. Every second I lived was waiting for the next second to be the explosion or Jesus returning knowing that some of the people I loved would go to Hell because they had not asked for forgiveness. And we would be separated forever. “There is no hope beyond the grave,” an adult said, as I searched the sky for the end to begin.

Looking back, it wasn’t so much the fear of death as the fear of eternity that filled me with dread. Even heaven would become boring, oppressive it seemed, and I hoped from time to time we could at least sleep. I began to read novels to escape and forget. We lived in the South Mountain without a television so novels were a logical solution. Treasure Island and Tom Sawyer were as good a place as any to begin, then To Kill A Mockingbird, Gone with the Wind, I, Claudius, and Dracula though I would read anything that turned a page including the monthly Readers Digest that came cover to cover.

As a child when I worried about the Second Coming, I would get angry. How dare Jesus return and take my young life from me? It wasn’t fair, I was just getting started. Why couldn’t he come back when I was a hundred? I wanted to live. With climate change, life as we know it is over. Not only artists create work they hope will survive, everyone does, planting trees or having children. We all know we’re going to die but hope for those we love a precious tomorrow.

Children carry heavy burdens they can’t explain feeling what they can’t express, and this inability to articulate, to not know how, creates an awful loneliness. “Heaven for the climate, hell for the company,” Mark Twain said. At an early age I confronted an Inequitable God, did battle, and like Huckleberry Finn, chose Hell over Him. Suffering silent children today are worried and angry about climate change—I do not doubt it. But they won’t make it go away by reading novels.


I like to browse and over the years many of my favorite hours have been spent that way. My childhood browsing of looking under rocks to see what I could find, the surprise of a pretty salamander or snake or interesting insect translated itself with age into browsing in bookstalls and record stores where albums evolved into tapes and tapes after time became CDs. Now that it’s the digital age, I’ve given most of my tapes and CDs to charity shops, but most of the books have stayed.

My favorite bookstore, Lectorum on West 14th Street, has been closed for many years now. Lectorum carried Spanish novelists and poets and helped me a lot in the pursuit of learning the language. When it comes to poetry, I like to read poets in their languages, Catullus, Baudelaire and Juan Ramón Jiménez who wrote Platero y Yo, which is one of the most beautiful books ever written. Poetry is the language it was created in; you really can’t translate.

I have a two volume set of the collected poetry of Juan Ramón Jiménez. One day, the handsome gray haired Cuban who worked at Lectorum, went down into the basement and brought the dusty books up for me with hunter green covers and gold lettering, published in Barcelona in 1967. It was like a gift to me.

I’ve started to read Juan Ramón Jiménez’s Sonetos Espirtuales. Sometimes I need a dictionary. In the old days on a walk, I’d be lugging the poet and the dictionary, and if I were reading two poets that day, say Rimbaud and Ovid, I’d be carrying four books, two poets and two dictionaries. Now I have Latin, French and Spanish dictionaries on my iPhone, and apps that do the translation for me. But still it’s just me and the poet. The times have changed and yet they haven’t.

Below is the first of Jiménez’s sonnets. My translation begins a lot like the original, but changes toward the end with the English saying what I think the poet says. That is translation for you.

Al Soneto Con Mi Alma

Como en el ala el infinito vuelo,
cual en la flor está la esencia errante,
lo mismo que en la llama caminante
fulgor, y en el azul el solo cielo;

como en la melodia está la consuelo,
y el frescor en el chorro, penetrante,
y la riqueza noble en el diamante,
esta en mi carne está el total anhelo.

En tí, soneto, forma, esta ansia pura
copia, como en agua remansada,
todas sus inmortales maravillas.

La claridad sin fin de su hermosura
es, cual cielo de fuente, ilimitada
en la limitación de tus orillas.

To the Sonnet With My Soul

Like a wing in infinite flight
like a flower’s wandering essence
the same as the walking presence
of a flame in fire, and the blue in the sky

or the comfort in a melody
the penetrating freshness of a jet
like the rich light a diamond spends
the longing in my flesh is me

like you, sonnet, whose form’s purity
wants to copy in the still water
the endless wonderful surprise

of the sky, whose beauty is clearly
reflected in a fountain that is never
limited by the limits of its sides.

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