Sheldon Kranz

Sheldon Kranz


Clocks ticking in time,
Have birds in them
And grass bending in wind
To meet the sixty seconds in every minute.
Clocks moving in space,
Have met the uncertain smile, the shattered lamp,
And proceeded on,
Not unaware that six o'clock
Serenely waits for seven
Now, and in time.


Women with their soft eyes
And bodies that invite,
Can never penetrate
To the secret winter of my mind.
Here stars and flesh
Tremble in hushed approval,
And snow falls delicately
Upon the angles of flesh and stars.
Women curving gently,
With hair blowing sweetly,
Would be wounded
Wandering among the cold points of starlight
So carefully arranged;
And I  must shut out summer's women
With their breath of liquid sun,
Until one finds me quiet and cold,
Here where the snow falls and falls
In frozen curves.


It can seem in quiet moments,
When the sky is a pale but piercing blue,
That my eyelids are quite transparent;
And I can see each object in the room
Though my eyes are closed.
How can I  explain what seems to be?
The light that flows through my eyelids is real.
I see the half-opened door, the dusty books,
The green umbrella with its broken stays
That leans rakishly against the wall.
How can I explain?
The yellow flowers are exactly in their place,
And the busy sky outside
Is just as high as skies should be.
Those flowers, those books, that pale blue sky
Move me more than on ordinary days.
Who shall say they are not real?
Who shall say that seeming is not a part of being?


The rude voice announces
That those without tickets
Must leave the train immediately.
People quickly fumble in purses
And bring out small, bright objects
They have carefully tucked into corners.
Mementos delicately wrapped in tissue
Appear and are disregarded;
Pockets are turned inside out.
And the clear voice announces
That those without tickets 
Will kindly prepare to descend.

Some are angry and declare
They will sue the railroad
For this humiliation.
Others stare quietly down at their empty hands.
The conductor hurries along the aisle;
His eyes are sad--
They do not understand.

On the crowded  platform, the people avoid each other's gaze
And watch with puzzled, angry eyes
As the shining locomotive moves swiftly out of sight,
While the clear voice politely directs the people
To the nearest exit.

   To Anne Fielding

If I say to you:
See how the neat edge of that red book
Lying on the table
Meets the air so gently;
And how that white piece of thread
Straggling unadmired across the dark polished floor
Is really what you have known
Standing in the wings
Waiting for your cue--
Then will you see
That the moments between the moments are
As full as any upon a lighted stage
Where self meets self in honest puzzlement;
And things are telling us what is real
With each tick of the clock,
Between this moment and the next,
On any humdrum day.

Homer, Sappho, and Everything

You looked out to the clear horizon
And saw Homer's warriors
Charging across the plain.
You listened and heard
Sappho singing her melancholy songs
Beside a quiet pool.
And confusion in the city streets grew less,
So did the hidden plots,
The cruel accusations.
And didn't you suspect
In the growing light of day
That the shouting in the market place
Was meant for you?


Anne Fielding & Sheldon Kranz
Anne Fielding & Sheldon Kranz

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