DIFFRACTION

Our kitchen window, grimy with a season's dirt

Nonetheless displays quite well the more inert

    And gaseous forms of matter on its glasses,

Sequins on the sky's transparent skirt

 

Framed between the grey wood sashes

Of a dark December day, ash to ashes

    On the blurry cloisonné

That smears the outside world in patches

 

On the damp mascara of the window pane,

The sort of view beauticians feign:

    Mist and dust and condensation glue

The eyes, the hardened eyes, to beauty's stains

 

In lieu of landscapes stunned with dew

(Face the truth: beauty now is no more true

    Than art allows: our myopic sight remains

On pictures that another talent drew),

 

The flashy hand of rouge and reddened light

Fleshed out with all these splashes of the night

    As might become a thing opaque

Or dense, a thing less white

 

Or lucid than a pane's forgiving lake;

But hidden in the mural a mistake

    Betrays the squalid pallor of the lens

If only for the momentary sake

 

Of contradicting common sense:

Sun flicking through the makeup bends

    The soot to sequins, as a musty prism fakes

The jewels a comic forger makes.