The turning of the season opens leaves
With excesses of love and longer days.
I look ahead to future memories.

Where once were only icy former seas
Geology has layered land with clays.
The turning of the season opens leaves.

Our scholars find in ancient texts the pleas
Of oracles forewarning fates in plays. 
I look ahead to future memories.

The germination of the plain relieves
Our fears of wretched weather and delays.
The turning of the season opens leaves.

The harvested remainders in their sheaves
Embody all that’s culled and now decays.
I look ahead to future memories.

And she is taciturn, and she reprieves
The end of winter. So our spring betrays. 
The turning of the season opens leaves.
I look ahead to future memories.

You turn and start to smile in such a way
That I can think of no one else but you
Amid talk in a busy room, and your face—
So alive with thought and warmth and buoyant wit
That I want to say you are all life, all grace—
Leaves me speechless. We were deep in snow
When we first met. We’ve come very far,
In weather often kinder, I admit,
And I should have said something long ago 
Of how astonishing you really are.
Nothing can be undone. I cannot live
These last years over. I can only say
You amaze me. You are beautiful. You can give
All that is ever needed to a day.



       Villanelle of Seasons

           The Cliffs

      An Athlete at His Game

For Elizabeth

Washington D.C.

Alan Kovski © 2013  |  All Rights Reserved

He tests his limits every day, and we,
In stadium seats and homes and happy din,
Insisting justice means our team will win,
Will swing a bat with him vicariously,
Will run along with him, believing yet
That life can be like this: Adversity
Is overcome on sunny fields of play
And leads to hard-earned fame. We can forget
That life is not, in point of fact, like this.
We often wish it were—a game,
A laughing conflict, bragging Iliad,
An artificial war, a simple way
Of trying to reduce the complex day
To something comprehensible and glad.

They will arrive at the highest part
Of the cliffs of Man,
Where we drive them over.

They cannot hope to linger there
After losses planned
From which none recover. 

When they arrive, all is prepared
By our heedless band
Like a careless lover.

Life has decreed their own foolish hearts
At the cliffs of Man
Let us drive them over.

First in the parade

Are two men in ragged suits

Who caper to a happy tune

And scowl and waive their arms

In comic dread. Followers

Traipse noisily behind them

Throwing necklaces of beads

To scattered thinning crowds

On brightly littered sidewalks

Where people were expecting

Something funny to be said.

Soon the raucous throng

Rounds a shabby corner

Not actually knowing

If anybody led.

The hubris of the city is amazing.

Its wharves load ships with promises of goods

And brimming cornucopias of treasures

Practical or not, regardless of its

History of failure.


A heady elixir of misspent power

Animates conversation across town

​In restaurants filled with gossip and alliances

Between the fervent partisans and agents

Of advantageous change.


Senators firmly reassure themselves

Of their grasp of the public's fleeting passions

And the levers of their power and positions

Employed supposedly with more in mind

​Than lucrative careers.


Wiser heads fall silent at the spectacle

Of what we have become, of our small minds,

While journalists and propaganda servants

Proclaim the epoch-making imminence

Of convenient crises.