May 8, 2011

I look back to you, and cherish what I wanted:
your flashing superiority to failure,
hair of yellow oak leaves, the arrogant
tanned brunt in the snow-starch of a loosened shirt—
your bullying half-erotic rollicking…
The white bluffs rise above the old rock piers,
wrecked past insuring by two hurricanes.
As a boy I climbed those scattered blocks and left
the sultry Sunday seaside crowd behind,
seeking landsend, with my bending fishing rod
a small thread slighter than the dark arc of your eyebrow…
Back at school, alone and wanting you,
I scratched my four initials, R.T.S.L.,
like a dirty word across my bare, blond desk.

Robert Lowell (1968, rev. 1973) Selected Poems, 1976.

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