of Insomnia with Giorgio de Chirico
Moonlight corrupts a plate of pears,
adulterates this case of empty stairs.
Horror of the outskirts!--the nocturnal cafes
where carbines and woodcutter's axes
snore heavily amidst the tabletops'
furniture of glasses and decanters.
Where is my tamarind elixir of childhood,
its biblical draught, its taste of the Old Testament?
My nostalgia for the infinite is terrible,
disturbing the small streets of convalescence,
where the aged Count rummages
in dustbins with his pointed stick.
Where is the perfect paper kite I flew
over the cold piazza, and where are the dolts
who brought it down with trouser-belt catapults?
This balcony's black pall is my misericord!
Braziers go out on the terrasse; in the convent,
mice scratch at cakes shaped like the Virgin.
My nostalgia for the terrible is infinite.
Powerless against the sloppy galoshes
and oppressive descent of the city, I retreat
to the overheated ghetto of my ego, and watch
as my shadow disappears on the square below
into the black apse of a church, and Trollolo--
my boyhood mongrel--banished forever outside--
raises his awful muzzle to the Attic sky.