The Collar



I am his Highness’ dog . . .

—Alexander Pope


Cold ringed those late spring

mornings, not Herbert’s collar

(days too off-white, dingy


peonies only the day before
fizzing into bloom)—more Pope’s

prince’s dog’s, a bit of S/M


paraphernalia that meant ownership

with a chaser of strangulation:

absent gardens, missing reigns.


Remember the long afternoon

at Kew, the sudsy pools choked

with mutant green lungs


of glass that from a distance

might have been mistaken

for tropical refugees? They


were Chihuly’s attempt
to improve on nature, not the worst

rage against death.


First flush of the season

over, catcalls in the hedges

almost ceased, sparrows lost


in rough greenery, civil
wars of undergrowth brokered

in some Concordat of Worms.


Then, only then, could we enter

the Purgatorio of summer,
if such a thing existed.

William Logan’s most recent book of poetry is Rift of Light, published in 2017.  His book of long essays on familiar poems, Dickinson’s Nerves, Frost’s Woods, was published in June 2018.