What Shall We Name Them?

I’ve often thought how ‘modernity’
Sounds like ‘maternity’ but,
For some reason, I hear it more in
As in ‘post-maternity,’ if there is such a word,
And I wonder what
We and those before us
Have given birth to.

I see no rough beast moving its slow thighs
To or from Bethlehem;
Perhaps because I am skeptical about whether
Yeats’ preceding era of Love really was,
Or perhaps I do not believe in such experiences
De Spiritus Mundi.

I have never met a true cynicist.
They all find –
– in the purchase of forbidden tongues,
– in the moments ticking between the passing of needles,
– glossed with railroad grime like Ginsberg’s sunflower,
– yawned out by the half-starved cat someone let in a month or more ago,
– occasionally drenching the leaves of the too-green town tree drinking a chemical stream paid for by the city council and applied in a language unintelligible to passersby,
They find
Just enough sorrow to swallow, and remember
That the triumphal march of beauty goes on somewhere
Beyond them, and it is enough.
They are all anorexics.

They are blurring and drawing
Lines between disillusionment and self-enchantment;
They are their own captivators.

And we are children
And they are ours.


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