L O N G I N G
In these days,
When the winds wear no wedding rings,
Everything seems to be going away:
My sweet son filling his sails at a distant college,
My springtime friends on trail to the ultimate West,
And, even in central summer,
I feel the days shortening,
The stealthy lengthening of the night.
And so, in the imperial extension of the dark,
Against which, all my life, I opposed my body,
I long to pass from this anguish of passings
Into the calm of an indifferent joy . . .
To enter October's frail canoe and drift down
Down with the bright leaves among the raucous wildfowl
On the narrowing autumn rivers where, in those longer nights,
Secretly, in the shallows or on reedy shorelines,
Ice is already forming.
T H O M A S M C G R A TH
drawn from William Kitteridge's Western Anthology, a beauty
Thomas McGrath was born in 1916. He was workingclass,
a poet of the Western vernacular and landscape, a college
professor, a novelist, a political activist, an activist. In the last
years of his life he wrote some of his finest poetry ever. In this
present age skittish of socialists, McGrath was a co-founder long ago of the Ramshackle Socialist Victory Party. They sugarcoated nothing.