from An Alien Joy, 1987

What oceans of power draw us to our doom
And what words of wisdom seek us out for revenge
And above what tides of lust the sick man conquers.

The artist's struggles uplift a wan sun,
The dull ache of an alien summer.
Pristine linen, white chandeliers,
Become the oppressors of creativity.
This mortal act, the gestures of instinct,
And a willingness to fail –
All that is beautiful is fragile.
A single truth brings the world to ashes:
The flowers of autumn.

Did a plague of mediocrity
Blight the velvet leaves of dogdays in Europe?
The taste of water turns a gown of gold to brown,
And the Sirocco brings dust to the eyes,
Death to Venice.