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English language poetry Robert Hass-


All the new thinking is about loss.
    In this it resembles all the old thinking.
    The idea, for example, that each particular erases
    the luminous clarity of a general idea. That the clown-
    faced woodpecker probing the dead sculpted trunk
    of that black birch is, by his presence,
    some tragic falling off from a first world
    of undivided light. Or the other notion that,
    because there is in this world no one thing
    to which the bramble of blackberry corresponds,
    a word is elegy to what it signifies.
    We talked about it late last night and in the voice
    of my friend, there was a thin wire of grief, a tone
    almost querulous. After a while I understood that,
    talking this way, everything dissolves: justice,
    pine, hair, woman, you and I. There was a woman
    I made love to and I remembered how, holding
    her small shoulders in my hands sometimes,
    I felt a violent wonder at her presence
    like a thirst for salt, for my childhood river
    with its island willows, silly music from the pleasure boat,
    muddy places where we caught the little orange-silver fish
    called pumpkinseed. It hardly had to do with her.
    Longing, we say, because desire is full
    of endless distances. I must have been the same to her.
    But I remember so much, the way her hands dismantled bread,
    the thing her father said that hurt her, what
    she dreamed. There are moments when the body is as numinous
    as words, days that are the good flesh continuing.
    Such tenderness, those afternoons and evenings,
    saying blackberry, blackberry, blackberry.

Faint Music

Maybe you need to write a poem about grace.

When everything broken is broken,
and everything dead is dead,
and the hero has looked into the mirror with complete contempt,
and the heroine has studied her face and its defects
remorselessly, and the pain they thought might,
as a token of their earnestness, release them from themselves
has lost its novelty and not released them,
and they have begun to think, kindly and distantly,
watching the others go about their days--
likes and dislikes, reasons, habits, fears--
that self-love is the one weedy stalk
of every human blossoming, and understood,
therefore, why they had been, all their lives,
in such a fury to defend it, and that no one--
except some almost inconceivable saint in his pool
of poverty and silence--can escape this violent, automatic
life's companion ever, maybe then, ordinary light,
faint music under things, a hovering like grace appears.

As in the story a friend once told about the time
he tried to kill himself. His girl had left him.
Bees in the heart, then scorpions, maggots, and then ash.
He climbed onto the jumping girder of the bridge,
the bay side, a blue, lucid afternoon.
And in the salt air he thought about the word "seafood,"
that there was something faintly ridiculous about it.
No one said "landfood." He thought it was degrading to the rainbow perch
he'd reeled in gleaming from the cliffs, the black rockbass,
scales like polished carbon, in beds of kelp
along the coast--and he realized that the reason for the word
was crabs, or mussels, clams. Otherwise
the restaurants could just put "fish" up on their signs,
and when he woke--he'd slept for hours, curled up
on the girder like a child--the sun was going down
and he felt a little better, and afraid. He put on the jacket
he'd used for a pillow, climbed over the railing
carefully, and drove home to an empty house.

There was a pair of her lemon yellow panties
hanging on a doorknob. He studied them. Much-washed.
A faint russet in the crotch that made him sick
with rage and grief. He knew more or less
where she was. A flat somewhere on Russian Hill.
They'd have just finished making love. She'd have tears
in her eyes and touch his jawbone gratefully. "God,"
she'd say, "you are so good for me." Winking lights,
a foggy view downhill toward the harbor and the bay.
"You're sad," he'd say. "Yes." "Thinking about Nick?"
"Yes," she'd say and cry. "I tried so hard," sobbing now,
"I really tried so hard." And then he'd hold her for a while--
Guatemalan weavings from his fieldwork on the wall--
and then they'd fuck again, and she would cry some more,
and go to sleep.
                           And he, he would play that scene
once only, once and a half, and tell himself
that he was going to carry it for a very long time
and that there was nothing he could do
but carry it. He went out onto the porch, and listened
to the forest in the summer dark, madrone bark
cracking and curling as the cold came up.

It's not the story though, not the friend
leaning toward you, saying "And then I realized--,"
which is the part of stories one never quite believes.
I had this idea that the world's so full of pain
it must sometimes make a kind of singing.
And that the sequence helps, as much as order helps--
First an ego, and then pain, and then the singing.

Sep 22, 2008 10:35 PM
Comments · 8

(On Absence) Poetical Verse by Moore: Lalla Rookh


Oh! couldst thou but know, With what a deep devotedness of we

I wept thy absence, o'er & o'er again

Thinking of thee, still thee, till thought grew pain

And memory, like a drop that night and day

Falls cold and ceaseless, wore my heart away!

June 15, 2012

(On absence) Poetical Verse by Dryden, "Fables"


His friends beheld, & pity'd him in vain,

For what advice can ease a lover's pain?

Absence, the best expedient they could find

Might save the fortune, if not cure the mind

June 15, 2012

(Poetical Verse) from "Auguries of Innocence" Written by William Blake


To see a World in a Grain of Sand

And a heaven in a Wild flower,

Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand

And Eternity in an hour

June 15, 2012

___" W i n g s "___Written by Victor Hugo


Let us be like a bird for a moment perched

On a frail branch while he sings;

Though he feels it bend, yet he sings his song,

knowing that he has wings

June 15, 2012

" W i n g s "


Let us be like a bird for a moment perched

On a frail branch while he sings;

Though he feels it bend yet he sings his song.

knowing that he has wings

June 15, 2012
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