from Punchinello in Chains: VI. Punchinello Dreams of Escape

By William Logan b. 1950 William Logan
The ship at anchor wasn’t what it seemed—
yet Punchinello gripped the eagle’s neck.
(The dream of life is just another dream.)

It soared above the masts, canals, the steam
of chimneys, till our Punch was just a speck.
The ship at anchor wasn’t what it seemed,

the harbor, Venice, Europe—even the gleam
blazing San Marco’s horses shrank. A fleck!
The dream of life is just another dream

that really wants a king, a god’s regime,
or some poor hurricane to wreck
the ship at anchor. Wasn’t what it seemed,

Punch’s old life, another Ponzi scheme?
Weren’t sailors waving from the quarter-deck?
The dream of life is just another dream

that none of us will live to see redeemed.
Death scrawls his bold John Hancock on your check.
The ship at anchor wasn’t what it seemed.
The dream of life is just another dream.

William Logan, “Punchinello Dreams of Escape” from Macbeth in Venice. Copyright © 2003 by Wiliam Logan. Reprinted with the permission of Penguin, a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc. For online information about other Penguin Group (USA) books and authors, see

Source: Macbeth in Venice (Penguin Books, 2003)

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Poet William Logan b. 1950

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Poet and critic William Logan was born in Boston in 1950 and earned degrees from Yale University and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Since 1975, his work—both poetry and criticism—has regularly appeared in major journals and publications such as the New Yorker, the New York Times, the Paris Review, Poetry, and the New Criterion. He is the author of numerous books of poetry, including Sad-Faced Men (1982), Sullen Weedy Lakes (1988), . . .

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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