Look Deep

Anthony Hecht

Look deep into my eyes. Think to yourself,

"There is 'the fringéd curtain' where a play

Will shortly be enacted." Look deep down

Into the pupil. Think, "I am going to sleep."

The pupil has its many-tinctured curtain

Of moiré silks, parted to let you in,

And the play will present a goddess you used to know

From the glint of sunlit fountain, from beveled mirror,

A goddess, yes, but only a messenger

Whose message is the armorial fleur-de-lys

She carries in her right hand, signifying

The majesty of France, as handed down

From the royal house of Solomon and David:

Wisdom, music and valor gracefully joined

In trefoil heraldry. Nearly asleep,

You settle down for a full-scale production

Of The Rainstorm in its grand entirety,

Which, greater than The Ring, lasts forty nights;

Everything huddled in one rocking stateroom,

A saving remnant, a life-raft-world in little.

Dream at your ease of the dark forests of spruce

Swaying in currents of green, gelatinous winds

Above which the classless zoo and zookeepers

Weather the testing and baptismal waters;

Dream of the long, undeviating gloom,

The unrelenting skies, the pounding wet

Through which a peak will thrust, a light, and over

The covenanted ark, an arc-en-ciel.

Anthony Hecht was a twentieth-century American poet. His work includes the Pulitzer Prize winning The Hard Hours and Flight Among the Tombs.
Originally published:
July 1, 1998


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