The poet’s rituals at the start of a work day


 David Wagoner, born 1926, American



Ready to leave for work, I look around





A room in Hudson, New York, 2014 




To check windows and switches:  in the sink,






Still Life with City Hall Tower (Philadelphia), 1981, hand-coloured etching.  Elizabeth Osborne, born 1936, American.  Woodmere Museum, Philadelphia





 Cactus, 1931, oil on canvas.  Charles Sheeler, 1883-1965, American.  Philadelphia Museum of Art




A pool of coffee poured from the last cup

Gleams near the drain; the ring in the bath




Interior of house, West Shokan, NY-11

A bath in West Shokan, New York




At its own level holds my body up;

And crumpled on the bed, blankets like sheep





A bedroom in West Shokan, New York





Crouch where the ram came, reeling, from his dip.





Not a ram but a goat and suckling kid; hard paste porcelain, c. 1772, Johann Joachim Kandler, 1706-1775, German. Meissen Manufactory, Germany.  Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY




So many rituals: two cups for the gods





 Porcelain mugs made in the eastern US between 1995 and 2015.


Of the left and right temple, the grounds gone





To the right and left statues of Amenhotep III; c.1390 BCE; porphyritic diorite. Originally in Thebes and now at the Metropolitan Museum, New York.




Where all libations go; on porcelain,




Porcelain cups and vases made by Edmund de Waal.  Unknown date.




My yesterday in an upright, shrinking lather;

Dial down and ticking under the pillow-slip,






Unknown provenance from an exhibition of furniture, MOMA, New York, c. 2009.




Two sheets to the wind hauled back from sleep-





 The Crossing, c. 1911, oil on canvas. A portrait of Ida Rubinstein by Romaine  Brooks, 1874-1970.  Smithsonian Museum of American Art, Washington, DC





Customers preparing for sleep on a train from Ahmedabad to Jaipur, India. 2010




I leave these for the maker of light whose rain

On the alarming morning fell again.






Rain on Philadelphia rooftops. 2008





Crossing Market Street, Philadelphia  on its east side.  The Delaware River behind, the City Hall in front  at the crossroads of Market and Broad.

  On the way to work on a day of rain.  So familiar a journey.  So many years:  most of them alarming or wearying.

  But time passes and all things pass also.


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