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Drowsing over The Arabian Nights

Thomas Kinsella

I nodded. The books agree,
one hopes for too much.
It is ridiculous.
We are elaborate beasts.

If we concur it is only
in our hunger: the soiled gullet.
And sleep’s airy nothing.
And the moist matter of lust

—if the whole waste of women
could be gathered like one pit
under swarming Man,
then all might act together.

And the agonies of death,
as we enter our endless nights
quickly, one by one, fire
darting up to the roots of our hair.

From Collected Poems, copyright © 2006 by Thomas Kinsella. Reprinted by permission of Wake Forest University Press.

From Collected Poems, copyright © 2006 by Thomas Kinsella. Reprinted by permission of Wake Forest University Press.

Thomas Kinsella

by this poet

poem

1

Now, as I sink in sleep,
My heart is cut down,
Nothing—poetry nor love—
Achieving.

*

Turns again in my room,
The crippled leopard.
Paw-pad, configured
Yellow light of his eyes,
Pass, repass, repass.
Quiet, my hand; he is tame.
Soon, while I dream, will step
And stir the sunken dawn.

2