new favorite poet.

February 7, 2007

failing and flying
by jack gilbert

Everyone forgets that Icarus also flew.
It’s the same when love comes to an end,
or the marriage fails and people say
they knew it was a mistake, that everybody
said it would never work. That she was
old enough to know better. But anything
worth doing is worth doing badly.
Like being there by that summer ocean
on the other side of the island while
love was fading out of her, the stars
burning so extravagantly those nights that
anyone could tell you they would never last.
Every morning she was asleep in my bed
like a visitation, the gentleness in her
like antelope standing in the dawn mist.
Each afternoon I watched her coming back
through the hot stony field after swimming,
the sea light behind her and the huge sky
on the other side of that. Listened to her
while we ate lunch. How can they say
the marriage failed? Like the people who
came back from Provence (when it was Provence)
and said it was pretty but the food was greasy.
I believe Icarus was not failing as he fell,
but just coming to the end of his triumph.

Going There
by Jack Gilbert

Of course it was a disaster.
The unbearable, dearest secret
has always been a disaster.
The danger when we try to leave.
Going over and over afterward
what we should have done
instead of what we did.
But for those short times
we seemed to be alive. Misled,
misused, lied to and cheated,
certainly. Still, for that
little while, we visited
our possible life.

Tear It Down
by Jack Gilbert

We find out the heart only by dismantling what
the heart knows. By redefining the morning,
we find a morning that comes just after darkness.
We can break through marriage into marriage.
By insisting on love we spoil it, get beyond
affection and wade mouth-deep into love.
We must unlearn the constellations to see the stars.
But going back toward childhood will not help.
The village is not better than Pittsburgh.
Only Pittsburgh is more than Pittsburgh.
Rome is better than Rome in the same way the sound
of racoon tongues licking the inside walls
of the garbage tub is more than the stir
of them in the muck of the garbage. Love is not
enough. We die and are put into the earth forever.
We should insist while there is still time. We must
eat through the wildness of her sweet body already
in our bed to reach the body within the body.

13 Responses to “new favorite poet.”

  1. We must unlearn the constellations to see the stars. — cool line.

    That’s really good stuff. It’s so different from the poetry I’m use to reading. I actually like it much better.

  2. Ciavarro said

    Poetry? Where’s the line about Nantucket.

  3. vinny said

    hey man good stuff. The poems have all this stuff for shock vale but the guy is super optamistic and just believes in love. very refreshing.

  4. Leafs Fan said

    He’s a good poet and about the best non non-fiction stuff I’ve read in a LONG time!

  5. “But anything
    worth doing is worth doing badly.”

    that’s one of the lines that really does it for me.

  6. missapril said

    By insisting on love we spoil it..

    Amen.

  7. Mike said

    I don’t like specific poets everyone happens to have a good one here or there.

  8. i usually agree, but this guy is pretty consistent.

  9. Sunshine said

    I like Vancouver better than I Don’t Know. And it was good talking to you too.

  10. Krista said

    Now Ciavarro, don’t diss the poetry, one might say your blog is like some kind of poetry… thikn about it!

  11. foXX said

    rawr. where are you.

  12. Amy said

    Brandon you have grown to a man of many insightful things and I am blessed to have been able to meet you and know you for you….
    I think God made someone outstanding when He made you. Continue on Soldier….

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