Bill Berkson – Two Poems

Bill Berkson

Two Poems


The recording Willem de Kooning wanted played
at his funeral — Frank Sinatra singing
“Saturday Night (Is the Loneliest Night of the Week)” —

never happened.

What he got was selected arias
from “Aida.”

For Moses, On His Thirtieth Year

Many years of life on Earth, all yours now —
Open the door, down the street, the chute, in a quick black van, accelerator
Spun under stars, sensations and the several ways they lead existence on
Eventful estuaries, gaps and swells, rooftops, rose gardens, reefs and ledges
Sites the soul well knows, needs must know more of — in ways of intimacy, say

Baffling to live, knowing more or less in time, as wild waves wipe out panic
Echoing rages form a part, to evade the darkness may be more extreme
Resolute, melodious, the stars sing out where the song insists on going
Knowing you listen, add a verse or two, to return to them the song that’s you:
Sagacious, edgy, soulful, so impressed! (And that is you: part song, part simple fact)
On your way, in love’s regard, human depth and dizzying grandeur you attain
No moment dearer than this, to cheer you living with all you know, with friends

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