Are you so tired then, Stranger? Are you so tired
that you can’t lift your arms above a whisper
or extend your hand?
Are you so tired that you accept the verdicts of salamanders
and fish bones, and the sun in the morning and the moon at night,
so tired that you think another day’s another day
and nothing in your life is new—while all around you
ideas percolate, branches break, computers go wild?
are you so tired
that you’d give up wishing for a second chance
if you could only have a day or two in the country,
sitting in an Adirondack chair with your wristwatch off
until someone calls, “Croquet, croquet. Anyone for croquet?”
Are you tired enough not to care who’s invading who,
who’s playing who, who speaks for who, who’s rising to the top,
whose cat’s got whose tongue?
Was it experiences with an early grave that did you in?
Why do you always think of yourself as half-dissolved,
wretchedly torn? Talk to us, Stranger,
tell us what we’ve forgotten about room dividers,
bottle caps, memory lapse, cufflinks, sad sacks,
and how young men/young women stand on various fire escapes
promising themselves the world
but at the same time sensing they’ll be lost in money,
houses and children. Stranger, are you tired enough
to lay down your burdens, to think of opportunities
finally as things to let slip by with no regrets,
like early morning starlings rising above green pastures,
skimming across bristlegrass and wildflowers,
heading somewhere no one knows? If so,
we’ll straighten the pictures on our guest room walls,
turn down the covers, fluff up the pillows. . . . Tap at our door,
or send us your message on the Internet’s blue waves,
and we’ll provide for you a place to rest your head.
The Gettysburg Review
[Dick Allen, one of America's best-known poets, and author of six volumes of poetry]