Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, RATIONAL MAN, by ROLFE HUMPHRIES

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

RATIONAL MAN, by                 Poet's Biography
First Line: His restless glance abruptly drew
Last Line: Took comfort from the poplar trees.
Subject(s): Men; Poplar Trees; Reason; Solitude; Intellect; Rationalism; Brain; Mind; Intellectuals; Loneliness

His restless glance abruptly drew
An are halfway around the rim
Of earth's mysterious big bowl;
After escaping from his soul
Colors of sleep were standing by,
Their dark-blue shadows all around him.
This was the kind of night, he knew,
That, for no cause at all, would hound him,
And set his spirit prowling, prowling . . .
His glance, grown tired of running, flew
Suddenly upward to the sky
And stopped. The moon gazed back at him;
He stared, frowning a little, scowling . . .

He had discovered that, despite
Supposed advantages of sex,
When that white globe was on the wax
He could not hope to be immune
To lunar influence, nor fight
The monthly fullness of the moon.

And then he saw some poplar trees
All in a line, set close together,
Essential to a stiff design
In formal-garden symmetries:
He counted them, and there were nine.

He thought that they were beautiful:
Then he began to wonder whether
They were, like him, susceptible
To that distinct unearthly pull;
Some influence, he saw, was making
Their leaves keep rustling and shaking
Strangely. There seemed to be no breeze.

Rest and quiver, rest and quiver,
The trembling trees stood close together.
Their false propinquity, however,
Was not surprising to discover,
For he remembered he had heard
Poplars would never touch each other
No matter how their limbs were stirred.

There was a symbol for his shield!

Nine poplars on a moonlit field
Aloof, fastidious, intense
With shuddering self-preference!
He had no one near him to touch
But the idea consoled him much,
And he, whose lot was not like these,
Took comfort from the poplar trees.

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