Roman Park, Noon
To hear Karl Kirchwey read "Roman Park, Noon," click
The water, gray-green like your eyes,
blabs on in the absolute stillness.
The needle and thread of an old woman
move through a flash of white cotton
as she mutters, "Men like to kill."
A sphinx nearby rolls a man's skull
under its paw, prismed with
clear spray, and a girl's mouth
forms a grainy "O" of surprise
at the satyr lurking behind some acanthus.
Straight-backed girls play in the shade,
their blouses immaculate.
Two police officers water their horses
at the fountain's scalloped terraces.
A young man with a book
writes down the old woman's remark,
and the idled carousel's proprietor
reads a newspaper.
Karl Kirchwey is the author of six books of poems, most recently Mount Lebanon, and of a translation of Paul Verlaine's first book of poems, as Poems Under Saturn. Professor of the Arts and Director of the Creative Writing Program at Bryn Mawr College, he is serving as Andrew Heiskell Arts Director at the American Academy in Rome from 2010-13.
MSNBC presents an interview with Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky, in which he explains why poetry still matters.To visit Robert Pinksy's Favorite Poem Project site, click here.