Now that I know
That passion warms little
Of flesh in the mold,
And treasure is brittle,
I’ll lie here and learn
How, over their ground,
Trees make a long shadow
And a light sound.
To me, one silly task is like another.
I bare the shambling tricks of lust and pride.
This flesh will never give a child its mother,—
Song, like a wing, tears through my breast, my side,
And madness chooses out my voice again,
Again. I am the chosen no hand saves:
The shrieking heaven lifted over men,
Not the dumb earth, wherein they set their graves.
—Louise Bogan (1897–1970) “Cassandra” from The Blue Estuaries: Poems 1923-1968 (Farrar Straus and Giroux, 1968); «Knowledge» appeared in Poetry (June 2012).