Two Poems by William Logan

The Wages of Goodness

The sixties post-office was a honeycomb
of doves, its facade more beautiful
than S. Maria Maggiore—every bird
with its own mail slot!

Something unfinished in that country
was the feathery drift of trees
in distance, awaiting the lost touch
of firmness. That, or pale curls

of moon once a month or so,
almost invisible. That was the territory
of a lost something or other.
Even the crows were on Social Security.

There the secular sought revelation.
A small kettle of vultures
rose over the loblollies,
looking for the Salon La Di Da.


The Winnower

The blinding sunset had been cast aslant,
like the untapped battery
of distant thunder, some sign of potential.
There was a moment in the dark room

when the cold fire flared,
or the match carried to the hurricane
lamp burst into the blue glow
of kerosene. That miserable December,

back at the advent of the sixties,
Father bore the clear font from the closet
and scratched the match with his thumb.
There we sat, dumbfounded

as observers in a de la Tour, waiting
for the darkness to be pushed back,
only to creep forward again, an obituary
before your death had occurred.


William Logan’s most recent book of poetry is Rift of Light (2017); his most recent book of criticism, Broken Ground: Poetry and the Demon of History (2021).

2 thoughts on “Two Poems by William Logan

  1. re 2 poems I like the compression in WL’s poems- a sort of Emily D tell it slant that seems to have gone out of fashion. Then too he has a sense of music that has also gone out of style- that is putting words close together that sort of jangle or clang.
    What he has to say is another matter- but he invites you to find out.
    “distant thunder” seemed too obvious to me- wld Stevens have said such?
    Contrast most poetry in magazines?
    david eberhardt in baltimore

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