Second evening poem — 31 Oct. ’64
To set things right—
that I am divided, do not know
any certainty of where I am—
that if the body loved goes into the mind’s back pasture
it is not from fulness and a one with the world,
but from despair
Love holds all over my naked body in the bed
going with the eyes into the trees or grass
The spirits of Love
fuck in my room
All hallows Eve.
They come to my bed
in the darkness where the eyes can see nothing,
and the body—
The sea birds have disappeared. All that is left is a space, lying open to a motionless voyage.
The knowledge that certain nights of prolonged gentleness will return to the earth and sea when we have gone can indeed help us in our death. Vast seas, forever virgin and forever…
The bridge was a huge sentence diagram,
You and I the compound subject, moving
Toward the verb. We stopped, breathing
Balloonfuls of air; and noonday sun sent down
A hard spray of light.
—Alfred Corn, opening lines to “The Bridge, Palm Sunday, 1973,” from Stake : Selected Poems 1972-1992 (Counterpoint, 1999)
I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.
I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
Myth makes Echo the subject of longing and desire. Physics makes Echo the subject of distance and design. Where emotion and reason are concerned both claims are accurate.
And where there is no Echo there is no description of space or love.
There is only silence.
found on the back of an envelope from
Helen Vendler, 1.28.1981
You came one day and
as usual in such matters
significance filled everything—
your eyes, the things you
knew, the way you turned,
learned, stood, or sat,
this way or that: when
you left, the area around here rose
a tilted tide, and everything that
offers desolation drained away.
—A. R. Ammons, from The Paris Review (Spring 2003, No. 165)