Four Poems by Peter Kane Dufault



















































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Cloud Brief  (To One Unimpressed)

How sad!  To deny it’s splendid—
that dazzling mass—just because
it isn’t a thing men did
and isn’t even intended
for profit or applause

though overwhelmingly there
by the hundred-mile, by the billion-
ton     buoyed on blue air
a feather, a leaf, a hair
would fall through...Can someone

resent that probability
might not apply up there—
only a purity
of form and radiance he
must look up to    but can’t share?

Chagrin d’Amour

Man's love is of man’s life a thing apart...


A thought of her always
stayed in my head, at the back of it,
lardered there like a berry
in a squirrel’s cheek.   Those days,
that was my amulet
against every adversary—

loneliness, weltschmerz, dull
age and its self-mockery
in presence of anything
bouyant and beautiful.
I would think of her, you see—
young, lovely and welcoming...

Now I am not so sure—
with her gone—that “man’s love
is of man’s life a thing apart.”—Unless hid failure
and the slow dissolution of
all purpose           be worth husbanding.

Nude Study

for Sarah Gardner

So lovely it was, the way
your body, propped on one shoulder,
curved into mine       like a river
into a shoal or a boulder

dividing there, gliding astride it!   You
of course couldn’t see the high
breast, the flank’s hollow,
the long camber of thigh.

No more could anyone       not
exactly where I was,
a fisherman     hip-deep
in the waters of Eros.


My dear, what you teach me is:
some premise exists for luck
a sly elasticity hid
in the apparently sheer
mathematics  of  Stasis
against Motion—a tuck,
you could say, in the fabric, in-
appreciable as object and ir-
relevant therefor to our cosmic
equations—or (face it) in-
equations (considering this
dire edge     What’s-to-Come has,
always, over    What-Is)....Oh yes,
I’m a philosopher too,
and wish I could make clear
to colleagues this curve of you
occurring just when it did.
But they are too distant;  won’t
come close enough, I fear,
to cry      What’s this!  What’s this!
and be told       Don’t worry.      Don’t
erase anything.     It’s just bliss.


PETER KANE DUFAULT'S poems have appeared in The New Yorker, Harper's, The New Republic, Atlantic, Spectator,, and in many other magazines and anthologies including the current (1996) Norton Anthology of Poetry. His collected poems, The Ponderable World, covering more than five decades, is currently being assembled. Mr. Dufault graduated from Harvard College.  He is the author of (click title to purchase) New Things Come Into the World (Lindisfarne Press, 1993).

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