Wednesday, May 7

they don't know what they feel

In moonlight who can tell
shepherdess from swan?
The shadows blur to one
grand wash. A grayish hill
flattens out within
the false proscenium
of elms. And now the spell
has fallen on the stunned
party. Revels done,
the costumes start to pale,
their hushed glimpses of skin
cool, shrink, and dim.
Is this antique style
so easily undone?
The nice distinctions
of each chosen role
are fading. Peasant, queen,
and gameskeeper have no station.
Smiles turn vague, eyes dull,
their hinting half-forgotten
or lost behind a fan.
Time stills. Old masks reveal
new ones. The hollow strum
of the lute disturbs them.
They don't know what they feel,
or if this is a scene
on stage, or if that fountain
sobbing with a will
so clear among the stones
it seems almost to shine
in ecstasy distills
everything they sense.
Their lives are painted on
a landscape. Light is still,
souls invisible.

-- Don Bogen, lines from "The Known World" The Known World

The Known World