What was is . . . since 1930;
the boys in my old gang
are senior partners. They start up
bald like baby birds
to embrace retirement.

At the altar of surrender,
I met you
in the hour of credulity.
How your misfortune came out clearly
to us at twenty.

At the gingerbread casino,
how innocent the nights we made it
on our Vesuvio martinis
with no vermouth but vodka
to sweeten the dry gin–

the lash across my face
that night we adored . . .
soon every night and all,
when your sweet, amorous
repetition changed.

Fertility is not to the forward,
or beauty to the precipitous–
things gone wrong
clothe summer
with gold leaf.

Sometimes
I catch my mind
circling for you with glazed eye–
my lost love hunting
your lost face.

Summer to summer,
the poplars sere
in the glare–
it’s a town for the young,
they break themselves against the surf.

No dog knows my smell.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Robert Lowell's poem Homecoming

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