I’d like to see lost objects —
avalanches of gloves,
coats, suitcases, umbrellas
return again. The garage
I took all summer
to clean out become on opera
of odd combs and safety pins.
Some string I missed having
that still climbs Jacob’s ladder —
and says at last, I missed you.
Downpours of instruction manuals
rain down on my lost watch,
and two toy balloons
once kidnapped by the wind.
It isn’t the body
that’s a stranger,
it’s someone else.
We poke the same
at the world.
When I scratch,
he searches too.
There are women
who claim to have held him.
A dog follows him about,
that claims to be his.
If they are quiet,
he is quieter.
If they forget him,
he forgets too.
If he ties his shoelace,
they always notice.
I’d like to say,
“He was in the beginning,
he’ll be there in the end.”
And have it be true.
as I sit
shuffling the cards,
I say to him,
“Though you listen
to every one of my words,
you are a stranger,
to each person I speak.”
in these elaborate rituals
of knotted table and crooked chair,
the new woman in the ward
wears purple, steps carefully
among her secret combination of eggshells,
and white china wood doves,
practicing her art.
With bird-eye quickness,
she can see in the nick of time
how perilous needles grain the floorboards
and try to outwit her plans.
In those poems that change me, I change the poem.
Sometimes an artist does not know if he will make it to the end of a painting, or a poem. In order to find out, he must change it.
What prompts these acts of mind to shift — the self-contained beauty of a painting, the explosive poise of myth, the unexamined story of one’s life, the disappearing world just out of reach.
We find a place in the painting we haven’t worked on. We write the first thing that comes to mind. We switch on some music to arrive at a new note.
The various inner enactments of our lives process in a visible way. They become a device where we can see the dramas processing in our lives.
I sit and sew — a useless task it seems,
my hands grow tired, my head weighed down with dreams,
the parodies of war, the many tired men,
grim-faced, gazing upon their kin,
whose eyes have not seen death.
They’ve learned to hold their lives as breath —
But — I must sit and sew.
I sit and sew — my heart aches with desire —
and looks on wasted fields, and the writing
of men who once were
appearing in cities, and yearning to go.
Now they look on fields of woe.
But — I must sit and sew.
The little useless seam; the idle patch;
I dream hear beneath my quilted blanket,
While there they lie in mud and rain,
And — I must sit and sew.
Almost nothing about Emily Dickinson
is simple and clear-cut. There are no reasons
why. And it is the delicate business
of the biographer to explore it all.
She herself would not answer any questions,
not a word. She kept her private life private.
In deference, we should walk into the mystery
standing up. Her life like the major vehicle
of her poetry grew older and more delicate
over time. She enjoyed a way of conveying truth
that was like an archer at an archness.
She enjoyed riddles. The riddle we can guess,
we speedily despise. In a life that stopped
guessing, she did not feel at home.
1. Ordinary speech permits many sounds.
2. An entire sentence is used, and repeated.
3. All writing, whether we are reading a newspaper or reading a poem, is a series of repetitions.
4. Writers repeat the same thought pattern over and over again to allow the meaning to sink in.
5. Compression in poetry stems from deletions.
6. We do not use the same words over and over again.
7. We realize how meaning can be repeated using fewer words with less letters.
8. Other uses of poetic grammar are: disjunction, repetition, syntax and speech.