A man is standing in the hall His house not recognizing. Her sudden leaving was a flight, Herself, maybe, surprising.
The chaos reigning in the room He does not try to master. His tears and headache hide in gloom The extent of his disaster.
His ears are ringing all day long As though he has been drinking. And why is it that all the time Of waves he keeps on thinking?
When frosty window-panes blank out The world of light and motion, Despair and grief are doubly like The desert of the ocean.
She was as dear to him, as close In all her ways and features, As is the seashore to the wave, The ocean to the beaches.
As over rushes, after storm The swell of water surges, Into the deepness of his soul Her memory submerges.
In years of strife, in times which were Unthinkable to live in, Upon a wave of destiny To him she had been driven,
Through countless obstacles, and past All dangers never-ended, The wave had carried, carried her, Till close to him she'd landed.
And now, so suddenly, she'd left. What power overrode them? The parting will destroy them both, The grief bone-deep corrode them.
He looks around him. On the floor In frantic haste she'd scattered The contents of the cupboard, scraps Of stuff, her sewing patterns.
He wanders through deserted rooms And tidies up for hours; Till darkness falls he folds away Her things into the drawers;
And pricks his finger on a pin In her unfinished sewing, And sees the whole of her again, And silent tears come flowing.
Kay Sage, Le Passage (1956)
Tempests, sisters of the hurricanes; bluish firmament, whose beauty I refuse to acknowledge; hypocritical sea, image of my own heart; earth, who hold mysteries in your breast; the whole universe; God, who created it with such magnificence, it is thee I invoke: show me a man who is good...But at the same time increase my strength tenfold; for at the sight of such a monster, I may die of astonishment: men have died of less.
-from Maldoror and poems, Lautréamont
The light foot hears you and the brightness begins
god-step at the margins of thought,
quick adulterous tread of the heart.
Who is it that goes there?
Where I see your quick face
notes of an old music pace the air
torso reverberations of a Grecian lyre.
-from 'A Poem Beginning with a Line by Pindar', by Robert Duncan
the dead can sleep
they don't get up and rage
they don't have a wife.
her white face
like a flower in a closed
window lifts up and
looks at me.
the curtain smokes a cigarette
and a moth dies in a
as I examine the shadows of my
-from 'i am dead but i know the dead are not like this', by Charles Bukowski
Zofia Rydet, Zaglada ( photo-collage 1970)
The man bent over his guitar,
A shearsman of sorts. The day was green.
They said, "You have a blue guitar,
You do not play things as they are."
The man replied, "Things as they are
Are changed upon the blue guitar."
And they said then, "But play, you must,
A tune beyond us, yet ourselves,
A tune upon the blue guitar
Of things exactly as they are."
- from 'The Man with the Blue Guitar', by Wallace Stevens
The Oldest Child
The night still frightens you.
You know it is interminable
And of vast, unimaginable dimensions.
"That's because His insomnia is permanent,"
You've read some mystic say.
Is it the point of His schoolboy's compass
That pricks your heart?
Somewhere perhaps the lovers lie
Under the dark cypress trees,
Trembling with happiness,
But here there's only your beard of many days
And a night moth shivering
Under your hand pressed against your chest.
Oldest child, Prometheus
Of some cold, cold fire you can't even name
For which you're serving slow time
With that night moth's terror for company.
- Charles Simic
Francis Bacon, 'Paralytic Child Walking on All Fours '
Where it says snow read teeth-marks of a virgin Where it says knife read you passed through my bones like a police-whistle Where it says table read horse Where it says horse read my migrant's bundle Apples are to remain apples Each time a hat appears think of Isaac Newton reading the Old Testament Remove all periods They are scars made by words I couldn't bring myself to say Put a finger over each sunrise it will blind you otherwise That damn ant is still stirring Will there be time left to list all errors to replace all hands guns owls plates all cigars ponds woods and reach that beer-bottle my greatest mistake the word I allowed to be written when I should have shouted her name