“When I go through the Shade You Throw, Runs A Shudder Over Me”

October reads like a haunted anthology of pages and days. On every page I find the birth of a poet; on every other, the death of a poet. I know the ghost of Dylan Thomas. He’s pissing on my door. Of course that’s Sylvia Plath. She’s a child again. Of course that’s Tennyson. Can’t you see he’s almost blind? At the office party Anne Sexton was so beautiful you could forgive her for dying. These perturbations can be heard in the house or on the street. I pause forever at the foot of the stairs, like Edna St. Vincent Millay. If there’s frost at midnight, it is Coleridge come back to give me a skeletal shiver. If I happen to dream of a haunted palace, it is by the conjuring of Edger Poe. If there’s an urn on a porch it is John Keats flowering again. If there’s a boat on drunk water, it is Arthur Rimbaud. October leaves blow like the cantos of Ezra Pound. Auroras of autumn bring out Wallace Stevens and Wallace Stevens– and after the rain, I’m puddlesure, it is E.E. Cummings standing there. Oh Ted Hughes, you’re back with your crows. And to be sure, John Berryman was born to die. W.H. Auden and T.S. Eliot died late enough in September to be included among the spirits of October. And all say “yea.” I’ll be extra observant for the Man-moth this Halloween. Thank you, Elizabeth Bishop. I’ll look under every mask. I’ll see who’s there and who is not.

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