You and the woman you love get in her roadster. A brief squeal of pain from the tires and The beige cottage with roses loosely stitched Through a home-made picket fence, dwindles, Vanishes in a row of pines. You cannot believe What has happened. The concreteness of cities, Leningrad, Boston, Peking, Istanbul . . . each word How its own sound unfolds a unique postcard Understanding of streets, flocks of honking cars, Buildings and vast crowds, how difficult To comprehend news of their destruction, How the mind draws the same blank on each attempt Like someone who watches a white screen waiting For the projector to be fixed, the film to begin. Instead you click off the frantic radio, and With the same hand admire her red hair flurry In the wind like a flame. The car too is a kind Of flame, burning its trail into the White Mountains like a long fuse, the tach needle Which trembles like a white-gloved finger Pointing up: the only way left to go. The road Finishes in a clearing, flat edge hammered Into cliff, below, New Hampshire forest. Nowhere Are the bright exclamations of war, the tour De force of light and sound, paradoxical herald Of darkness and silence. The sun is leaving for The day, perhaps for good. A crowd of thrumming Warblers flashes past, followed by the launch of Geese, their fading honks, and only the oaks are left; They creak like the gates of an ancient palace. You build a fire. The flame is so white, someone, If there is someone, might think a star smashed On the ridge. This is your house, and around it, first And maybe last, now declining, the city of light.