Theodore Russell Weiss

1916 - / New Jersey / United States

A Gothic Tale

Framed by our window, skaters, winding
in and out the wind, as water reeling
so kept in motion, on a well-honed
edge spin out a gilded ceiling.

Fish, reflecting glow for glow,
saints around the sun, are frozen
with amazement just one pane below.

Skates flash like stars, so madly
whirling one can hardly tell which
is sky and which the watery floor ...

one night two straitlaced couples,
a footman over them, rode out
in a dappled-horse-drawn sleigh
onto the river, a moonlit lark.

The ice broke and they—sleigh,
footman and all—riding in state,
rode straight on into the lidded water.

That winter all winter folks twirled
over them who—framed in lace,
frost the furs, the shiny harness
and their smiles the fire that keeps
the place—sat benignly watching.

"One foot out, one foot in,
are we real," thought one, "we who
wander sheepishly in dreams, or they,
the really sleepless eyes, under us?

And every night who knows (a laughter
troubles us like dreams) who skates
(a thousand watch fires the stars)
above, peering through the pane?"
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