I Mumble, Mr. Auden

"Having satisfied myself that the author of a manuscript can make
words speak and is interested in something more than his precious little
self . . . ." --W. H. Auden

Then I don't qualify.
After all my precious little self
is my interest;
born on Collins Avenue
without words that speak,
wordlessly I gored my knee
on a nail rusting in a lawn
that turns in my green brain now, always.
Pearl was spanked hard for it--
now fat with deepset eyes,
she had a page boy like Prince Valiant
and I'm not interested in anything else.

Then praise for my white office
and the sleeveless sweater that depends on me,
the paperbacks that fall
in all their color . . .
O books, books, I don't know where I am,
my heart is throbbing strangely,
in a minor state,
the turning of a little land I celebrate.