We Deceive Time

Reed Whittemore (1919 – 2012)

The American soul has been stored under the stairs
In a box with the mittens and scarves
For the longest time. We couldn’t think where we had put it.

Reed Whittemore

Three Sonnets to Time

III

by Reed Whittemore

Again and again, we deceive time.  We sleep, we meander 
As if it were nothing to us when we’d come, or be, through
Or where, in the limitless world, our ship would founder,
Or do what whatever ships in metaphor do.

We wear all the bright fashions, read soft books
And lie in the sun in Nassau with our hides.
We build our castles and line our secretest nooks
With the addresses where passion or drink resides.

And though time is never deceived – it is we, with our slippers on,
Who are caught by surprise when our light verse yawns its last
yawn – 
To the last hour we must strive to keep not looking drawn
From lamenting in secret, mumbling dirges at dawn.

It is a game, but a very solemn one, this that we play
With art, drama and rhetoric as we decay. 


Thoughts of a California Desert

by Reed Whittemore

Under palm trees, oranges, olives and pears
The indolent desert slouches, half an eye closed
And half an eye out for men of affairs whose cares
Keep them from keeping their gaudy gaudy gardens hosed.

Slouches and yawns, that clown. Leaves in disdain
Gaseous dragon their nauseous knights to nettle.
Flips his tail coyly, rolls over, says he would fain
Die a dry death.  Haw!  browning a petal.

Has it too good, too good. It vastly diverted
Watching his merchants and bankers stumble out doors.
Parries their blows, says he loves, loves to be squirted
As at him they fiercely empty their reservoirs.

Sleeps a great deal, drinks deep, drinks deep and makes hay,
Thinking he’ll swallow the bankers and all one day.

Published by

A Sonnet Obsession

I am a life-long Minnesotan who resides in Minneapolis. I hope you enjoy my curated selection of sonnets, short poems and nerdy ruminations. I am pleased to offer Fourteenlines as an ad and cookie free poetry resource, to allow the poetry to be presented on its own without distractions. Fourteenlines is a testament to the power of the written word, for anyone wanting a little more poetry in their life.

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