Elton Glaser won the 2002 Marlboro Prize in Poetry for his poem, "Meditation in Blue and White"

Meditation in Blue and White


It wasn't what he wanted, this moonlight
Sugaring oblivion, and white gulls that cried
The night sea up the beaches, like ghosts of crows.
It wasn't a world so dark his eye
Denied all consolations of the sun, so dumb
The suck and scrape of waves along the sand would
Vanish in his ear, enormous and nothing, until
His mind, in the pure cast metal of itself,
Went on ringing and ringing alone, halfway between
The bride's bouquet and flowers on the catafalque,
Bell in the still balance of the real.


Philosopher of the absent shore, deprivation's darling,
Assassin of the blood senses, cold namer
In the warm elysium, gone bald from
A tight riot of thoughts, a murderous mob
Clamoring against the inside of the skull,
With a beard part pitch, part salt, almost
Canceling the mouth, the lips that look still starved
For bread and kisses, for cups purpled with burgundy,
Even the lean shadows won't please you, unless
They fall on snow, drifts of it, bonemeal and ash
From everything that winter burned away.


Fans in the summer cottage above the beach
Stir up the youngest air of memory, bringing in
Odors of wild grape and dune grass. The sailboats don't fly
The acid flags of apocalypse; they ride
A slick of savage sunlight down the late waters.
It wasn't what he wanted, so blue a breath
He could feel the day inside him, the sea in his veins.
It was not the nakedness he craved, a thin perpetual peace,
But bare waves of bodies dolphined in the foam,
A sky of gold glints and wind, and gulls
Above the spray, in a squall of their own making.

Copyright ©2002 Elton Glaser.

Home Issue 14   Issue 13   Issue 12   Issue 11   Issue 10
Issue 9   Issue 8   Issue 7   Issue 6   Issue 5
Featured Writer   Archive