Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Stanley Kunitz: Chariot

For Varujan Boghosian
In this image of my friend’s studio,
where curiosity runs the shop, and you
can almost smell the nostalgic dust
settling on the junk of lost mythologies,
the artist himself stays out of view.
Yet anyone could guess
this is the magician’s place
from his collection of conical hats
and the sprawled puppets on a shelf,
the broken as well as the whole,
that have grown to resemble him,
or the other way round.
Butterflies, gameboards, and bells,
strewn jacks and alphabet blocks,
spindles, old music scores—
the litter spreads from wall to wall.
If you could dig to the bottom,
you might expect to find
a child’s plush heart,
a shing agate eye.
Here everything waits to be renewed.
That horse-age wagon wheel
proped in the corner
against an empty picture-frame,
Even in its state of disrepair,
minus three spokes,
looks poised for flight.
Tomorrow, maybe, at the crack of a whip
a flock of glittering birds will perch
on its rim, a burnished stranger
wearing an enigmatic mask
will mount its hub
and the great battered wheel
will start to spin.

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