Alfred Corn


Ex-combatant, relearning human laws you’ll cleanse the taint,
Your scarred or calloused hand remembering gentleness, restraint.

Whose faces are they, turned away to avoid the blank horizon?
Shores know the river’s grinding ice-floes strike without restraint.

“Man is born for trouble as the sparks fly upward.” True,
But why quote Scripture if you lack the virtue of restraint?

Today’s suspended sun slips down a single spider’s thread.
Occasion makes the thief, and avarice will trump restraint.

Encapsulate the cosmos in a single small fern seed?
O wildfire insight, innocent of what’s meant by restraint.

Telephones, cars and travel clocks each passing year grow lighter.
But facts suggest one country failed to use them with restraint.

This morning a boy washed our windows to a brilliant tango,
Its limpid tempi attaining freedom only through restraint.

When Laura hailed the dawning Canyon, echoes proved milestones,
Not one of them recycling antique habits of restraint.

On pain of happiness, reopen that book you always loved.
To postpone ending it, you’ll have to exercise restraint.

The Alfred Stagger Lee once passed his dice to tossed them west,
Pure chance a complement, no, compliment paid to restraint.

© 2005 Electronic Poetry Review