Poet’s Walk, Central Park Mall
Shakespeare, Robert Burns, and Fitz-Greene Halleck
sit back in bronze with its metallic claims
to permanence above the passing frolic.
Elm leaves drift from high branches in a panic
of mustard, amber and pale yellow flame
to shower Shakespeare, Burns, and Fitz-Greene Halleck.
Workers rake leaves that whirl in parabolic
arcs, away and back in greater volume.
Leaves drape lovers in the passing frolic
and wreathe Shakespeare, acting his prince in tragic
grandeur, who declaims, Had I but time . . .
Oh, I could tell you, Burns and Fitz-Greene Halleck.
Break dancers gyrate to brash hi-fi’s
as leaves burnish the pasty face of a mime,
and redden toddlers in the park’s frolic,
Nearby, Cleopatra’s needle rises, phallic,
remembering, like the statues that acclaim
Shakespeare and Burns. But who was Fitz-Greene Halleck?
I’ve read his bronze unveiling drew historic
top hats, parasols, and mutton sleeves. Time
forgets, but not here. In stark contrast to the frolic,
with Burns and Shakespeare, is Fitz-Greene Halleck.