Long Poetry

First Elegy: Rotten Lake

Originally published in A Turning Wind (1939) As I went down to Rotten Lake I remembered the wrecked season, haunted by plans of salvage, snow, the closed door, footsteps and resurrections, machinery of sorrow. The warm grass gave to the feet and the stilltide water was floor of evening and magnetic light and reflection of wish, the black-haired beast with my eyes walking beside me. The green and yellow lights, the street of water standing point to the image of that house whose destruction I weep when I weep you. My door (no), poems, rest, (don’t say it!) untamable need. [...]

2023-09-04T17:27:44+00:00January 15, 2021|Long Poetry, Writings|0 Comments

Breaking Open

Originally published in Breaking Open (1973) I come into the room         The room stands waiting river       books       flowers       you are far away black river       a language just forgotten traveling blaze of light           dreams of endurance racing into this moment           outstretched faces and you are far away The stars cross over fire-flood        extremes of singing filth and corrupted promises             my river A white triangle of need [...]

2018-12-07T20:32:56+00:00December 7, 2018|Long Poetry, Writings|0 Comments

Käthe Kollwitz

Originally published in The Speed of Darkness (1968) 1 Held between wars my lifetime among wars, the big hands of the world of death my lifetime listens to yours. The faces of the sufferers in the street, in dailiness, their lives showing through their bodies a look as of music the revolutionary look that says I am in the world to change the world my lifetime is to love to endure to suffer the music to set its portrait up as a sheet of the world the most moving the most alive Easter and bone and Faust walking among flowers [...]

2018-12-07T20:02:40+00:00December 7, 2018|Long Poetry, Writings|0 Comments

Searching/Not Searching

Originally published in Breaking Open (1973) Responsibility is to use the power to respond. after Robert Duncan 1 What kind of woman goes searching and searching? Among the furrows of dark April, along the sea-beach, in the faces of children, in what they could not tell; in the pages of centuries— for what man? for what magic? In corridors under the earth, in castles of the North, among the blackened minders, among the old I have gone searching. The island-woman told me, against the glitter of sun on the stalks and leaves of a London hospital. I searched for that [...]

2018-12-07T19:46:02+00:00December 7, 2018|Long Poetry, Writings|0 Comments

The Outer Banks

Originally published in The Speed of Darkness (1968) 1 Horizon of islands shifting Sea-light flame on my voice burn in me Light flows from the water from sands islands of this horizon The sea comes toward me across the sea. The sand moves over the sand in waves between the guardians of this landscape the great commemorative statue on one hand —the first flight of man, outside of dream, seen as stone wing and stainless steel— and at the other hand banded black-and-white, climbing the spiral lighthouse. 2 Floor over ocean, avalanche on the flat beach. Pouring. Indians holding branches [...]

2018-12-07T19:43:38+00:00December 7, 2018|Long Poetry, Writings|0 Comments


Originally published in The Speed of Darkness (1968) THE WAY OUT The night is covered with signs. The body and face of man, with signs, and his journeys. Where the rock is split and speaks to the water; the flame speaks to the cloud; the red splatter, abstraction, on the door speaks to the angel and the constellations. The grains of sand on the sea-floor speak at last to the noon. And the loud hammering of the land behind speaks ringing up the bones of our thighs, the hoofs, we hear the hoofs over the seethe of the sea. All [...]

2018-12-07T19:38:30+00:00December 7, 2018|Long Poetry, Writings|0 Comments


Originally published in Beast in View (1944) 1 THE JOURNEY Came in my full youth to the midnight cave Nerves ringing; and this thing I did alone. Wanting my fullness and not a field of war, For the world considered annihilation, a star Called Wormwood rose and flickered, shattering Bent light over the dead boiling up in the ground. The biting yellow of their corrupted lives Streaming to war, denying all our words. Nothing was left among the tainted weather But world-walking and shadowless Ajanta. Hallucination and the metal laugh In clouds, and the mountain-spectre riding storm. Nothing was certain [...]

2018-12-28T00:36:25+00:00December 7, 2018|Long Poetry, Writings|0 Comments

Waterlily Fire

Originally published in Waterlily Fire (1962) For Richard Griffith 1  THE BURNING Girl grown woman     fire     mother of fire I go to the stone street turning to fire.     Voices Go screaming     Fire     to the green glass wall. And there where my youth flies blazing into fire The     dance     of sane and insane images, noon Of seasons and days.     Noontime of my one hour. Saw down the bright noon street the crooked faces Among the tall daylight in the city of change. The scene has walls     stone     glass     all my gone life One wall a web through which the moment walks [...]

2019-01-10T20:43:10+00:00December 7, 2018|Long Poetry, Writings|0 Comments
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