Poetry

All The Little Animals

Originally published in Breaking Open (1973) “You are not pregnant,” said the man with the probe and the white white coat; “Yes she is,” said all the little animals. Then the great gynecologist examined. “You are not now, and I … Continue reading

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Ballad of Orange and Grape

Originally published in Breaking Open (1973) After you finish your work after you do your day after you’ve read your reading after you’ve written your say — you go down the street to the hot dog stand, one block down … Continue reading

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Beer and Bacon

When you see a woman riding the air Well, you see a woman playing with fire, A woman made of storm and desire And she loves the whole damn zoo. But you can be sure, whatever I do, That I … Continue reading

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Desdichada

Originally published in Breaking Open (1973) 1 For that you never acknowledged me, I acknowledge the spring’s yellow detail, the every drop of rain, the anonymous unacknowledged men and women. The shine as it glitters in our child’s wild eyes, … Continue reading

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Despisals

Originally published in Breaking Open (1973) In the human cities, never again to despise the backside of the city, the ghetto, or build it again as we build the despised backsides of houses.Look at your own building. You are the … Continue reading

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Effort at Speech Between Two People

Originally published in Theory of Flight (1935) :Speak to me. Take my hand. What are you now? I will tell you all. I will conceal nothing. When I was three, a little child read a story about a rabbit who … Continue reading

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For My Son

Originally published in The Speed of Darkness (1968) You come from poets, kings, bankrupts, preachers, attempted bankrupts, builders of cities, salesmen, the great rabbis, the kings of Ireland, failed drygoods storekeepers, beautiful women of the songs, great horsemen, tyrannical fathers … Continue reading

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From a Play : Publisher’s Song

Originally published in Breaking Open (1973) I lie in the bath and I contemplate the toilet-paper: Scottissue, 1000 sheets—         What a lot of pissin and shittin         What a lot of pissin and shittin Enough for the poems of Shelley and … Continue reading

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In a Dark House

Originally published in Theory of Flight (1935) Two on the stairs in a house where they had loved     : mounting, and the steps a long ascent before them brown: a single step creaking high in the flight; the turn … Continue reading

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In the Night the Sound Woke Us

Originally published in Breaking Open (1973) In the night the sound woke us. We went up to the deck. Brightness of brightness in the black night. The ship standing still, her hold wide open. Light shining orange on the lumber … Continue reading

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Islands

Originally published in The Gates (1976) O for God’s sake they are connected underneath They look at each other across the glittering sea some keep a low profile Some are cliffs The bathers think islands are separate like them © … Continue reading

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Lecture by Mr. Eliot

Originally published in Con Spirito 2.1 (Nov. 1933), p. 2. Archives and Special Collections, Vassar College Library Dither and amble and twitter at the brink of time whispering fragments of a century sliding among a thousand ghosts of meaning nudging … Continue reading

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Letter, Unposted

“My love, my love, my love, why have you left me alone?” James Joyce If I could write : Summer waits your coming, the flowers are colored, but half-alive and weak, earth sickens, as I sicken, with waiting, and the … Continue reading

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Metaphor to Action

Originally published in Theory of Flight (1935) Whether it is a speaker, taut on a platform, who battles a crowd with the hammers of his words, whether it is the crash of lips on lips after absence and wanting : … Continue reading

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More of a Corpse Than a Woman

Give them my regards when you go to the school reunion; and at the marriage-supper, say that I’m thinking of them. They’ll remember my name; I went to the movies with that one, feeling the weight of their death where … Continue reading

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Myth

Originally published in Breaking Open (1973) Long afterward, Oedipus, old and blinded, walked the roads.       He smelled a familiar smell.       It was the Sphinx.       Oedipus said, “I want to ask one … Continue reading

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Notes for a Poem

Originally published in Theory of Flight (1935) Here are the long fields inviolate of thought, here are the planted fields ranking the sky, signs in the earth : water-cast shuttles of light flickering the underside of rock. These have been … Continue reading

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One Soldier

Originally published in Beast in View (1944) When I think of him, midnight Opens about me, and I am more alone; But then the poems flower from the bone.— You came to me bearing the truth in your two hands; … Continue reading

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Place-Rituals

Originally published in Theory of Flight (1935) TRADITION OF THIS ACRE This is the word our lips caress, our teeth bite on the pale spongy fruit of this, the name : mouthing the story, cowlike in dignity, and spitting it … Continue reading

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Poem

First published in The Speed of Darkness (1968) I lived in the first century of world wars. Most mornings I would be more or less insane, The newspapers would arrive with their careless stories, The news would pour out of … Continue reading

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Poem Out of Childhood

Originally published in Theory of Flight (1935)           1 Breathe-in experience, breathe-out poetry    : Not Angles, angels    :     and the magnificent past shot deep illuminations into high-school. I opened the door into the concert-hall and a rush of triumphant violins … Continue reading

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Reading Time: 1 Minute 26 Seconds

Originally Published in A Turning Wind (1939) The fear of poetry is the fear : mystery and fury of a midnight street of windows whose low voluptuous voice issues, and after that there is no peace. The round waiting moment … Continue reading

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Song for Dead Children

Originally published in Theory of Flight (1935) We set great wreaths of brightness on the graves of the passionate who required tribute of hot July flowers    : for you, O brittle-hearted, we bring offering remembering how your wrists were … Continue reading

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Sonnet

Originally published in Theory of Flight (1935) My thoughts through yours refracted into speech transmute this room musically tonight, the notes of contact flowing, rhythmic, bright with an informal art beyond my single reach. Outside, dark birds fly in a … Continue reading

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St. Roach

Originally published in The Gates (1976) For that I never knew you, I only learned to dread you, for that I never touched you, they told me you are filth, they showed me by every action to despise your kind; … Continue reading

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The Iris-Eaters

Originally published in The Gates (1976) For John Cage It was like everything else, like everything– nothing at all like what they say it is. The petals of iris were slightly cinnamon, a smooth beard in the mouth transforming to … Continue reading

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The Minotaur

Originally published in Beast in View (1944) Trapped, blinded, led; and in the end betrayed Daily by new betrayals as he stays Deep in his labyrinth, shaking and going mad, Betrayed. Betrayed. Raving, the beaten head Heavy with madness, he … Continue reading

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The Overthrow of One O’Clock at Night

Originally published in The Speed of Darkness (1968) is my concern.      That’s the moment, when I lean on my elbows out the windowsill and feel the city among its time-zones, among its seas, among its late night news, … Continue reading

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The Return

An Idea ran about the world screaming with the pain of the mind until it met a child who stopped it with a word. The Idea leaned over those newborn eyes and dreamed of the nature of things: the nature … Continue reading

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The Road

Originally published in U.S. 1 (1938) These are roads to take when you think of your country and interested bring down the maps again, phoning the statistician, asking the dear friend, reading the papers with morning inquiry. Or when you … Continue reading

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To be a Jew in the Twentieth Century

From “Letter to the Front”  Originally published in Beast in View (1944) To be a Jew in the twentieth century Is to be offered a gift. If you refuse, Wishing to be invisible, you choose Death of the spirit, the … Continue reading

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Wake Island

Originally published in 1942 1 PROOF OF AMERICA! A fire on the sea, a tower of flame rising, flame falling out of the sky, a wave of flame like a great sea-wave breaking over this fighting island in its rain … Continue reading

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Waking This Morning

Originally published in Breaking Open (1973) Waking this morning, a violent woman in the violent day Laughing. Past the line of memory along the long body of your life in which move childhood, youth, your lifetime of touch, eyes, lips, … Continue reading

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Water Night

Originally published in The Green Wave (1948) The sky behind the farthest shore Is darker than I go to sleep. Blackness of water, the crater at the core, The many blacknesses begin to gleam. Rivers of darkness bind me to … Continue reading

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Wooden Spring

Originally published in Theory of Flight (1935) How horrible late spring is, with the full death of the frozen tight bulbs brownly rotting in earth; and each chord of light rayed into slivers, a bunch of grapes plucked grape by … Continue reading

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