Sometimes it feels like Jimmy Durante calling
goodnight to Mrs Calabash, whoever
she was or whether. Sometimes it's the tenth
hour in the trans-Pacific plane,
all glamour gone and connections still to make.
and it's been known to turn dirty,
as if a cutter, back from the peat-hag, found
his ass's pannier loaded with nothing.
But whistling in the dark, as the poet said,
is good practice for whistling, so
one goes on doing it and cognate things,
knowing a little and holding out
for a touch of what shows in the eyes of the old
hands at the business, their voices surrendered,
a better than Boeing winging their hopes, the laden
flesh beginning to take fire.