The will

The will

All I own, I own I owe it to my will.
All my properties; my cellars full of wine.
My generosity’s known both far and wide;
Sterling starlings perched in autumn on my wire
Will carry good tidings of me on the wind
To Andalucía, and beyond: the wild.

All I own and so much more is in the wild.
And I could own it all, had I but the will.
But the wilderness, for me, blows an ill wind;
Just the thought of it alone can sour my wine,
And makes rodents’ teeth meet at my copper wire.
Thus, I must console myself: the world is wide,

And this civilized home hemisphere is wide
Enough to feed my fancy. I know the wild
Would surely be my end. Maybe I should wire
Another lemon to my step-daughter? Will
Her to waste the whole lot on Burgundy wine:
Two fine bottles of Leroy! But since the wind

Has felled the phone-lines here – since the wailing wind
Has contrived to cut a chasm too deep and wide
For my technology – I sit with my wine
And stare from my window out to where the wild
Meets manicured lawns. The border of my will:
Beyond which, I know, lie useless logs and wire

In woods still stalked by wolves – who might chew that wire;
And whose howls would then become one with the wind.
I’d like that; I would hear this wind matched. I will
Walk my halls and dust my photographs. Smiles: wide
As the lens, old as the hills, dead as the wild
Is alive out there. I have run out of wine –

My cellar, I mean; not my glass. All the wine:
Gone! Not so much as a cork or twisted wire
Remains. Is this a trick? The thought drives me wild
With panic. And, from somewhere upstairs, the wind
Rattles windows by way of laughter. I’m wide
Awake, for the first time in years. Now, I will

Sit and write my will – without a glass of wine.
My mind’s swung open wide; I’ve cut every wire
In here, and the wind – ah! the wind; it blows wild.

Appears in:

In the Men’s Room [201?]


A “lemon” is (or was, or has been) Russian slang for one million rubles, which was – at the time of writing – about enough money for two fine bottles of Leroy.


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