1.
Belly full, and mind, and heart. An hour past midnight and well into a new morning. Thinking about all the days that led to this, and all the days after this one.

2.
Sometimes I find it so simple—to be happy. And sometimes it is exhausting and terribly difficult, and you almost question why until you catch yourself, and gently remember that in this world there are more questions than there are answers, and that’s okay.

3.
This moment: at the table, surrounded by people you love, a glass of wine in hand, and that quiet realisation that maybe this is all you need for tonight. That maybe this night will get you through other nights.

4.
Enough. Enough now.

5.
Merry Christmas.

Prayer
Galway Kinnell

Whatever happens. Whatever
what is is is what
I want. Only that. But that.

Advertisements

Contemplating defeat.

The Correspondence-School Instructor Says Goodbye to His Poetry Students
Galway Kinnell

Goodbye, lady in Bangor, who sent me
snapshots of yourself, after definitely hinting
you were beautiful; goodbye,
Miami Beach urologist, who enclosed plain
brown envelopes for the return of your very
“Clinical Sonnets”; goodbye, manufacturer
of brassieres on the Coast, whose eclogues
give the fullest treatment in literature yet
to the sagging breast motif; goodbye, you in San Quentin,
who wrote, “Being German my hero is Hitler,”
instead of “Sincerely yours,” at the end of long,
neat-scripted letters extolling the Pre-Raphaelites:

I swear to you, it was just my way
of cheering myself up, as I licked
the stamped, self-addressed envelopes,
the game I had of trying to guess
which one of you, this time,
had poisoned his glue. I did care.
I did read each poem entire.
I did say everything I thought
in the mildest words I knew. And now,
in this poem, or chopped prose, no better,
I realize, than those troubled lines
I kept sending back to you,
I have to say I am relieved it is over:
at the end I could feel only pity
for that urge toward more life
your poems kept smothering in words, the smell
of which, days later, tingled in your nostrils
as new, God-given impulses
to write.

Goodbye,
you who are, for me, the postmarks again
of imaginary towns—Xenia, Burnt Cabins, Hornell—
their solitude given away in poems, only their loneliness kept.

Pain will be interesting. And life, love, laughter. Even longing. And being alone will be interesting. Being alone will become lovely again.

Wait
Galway Kinnell

Wait, for now.
Distrust everything, if you have to.
But trust the hours. Haven’t they
carried you everywhere, up to now?
Personal events will become interesting again.
Hair will become interesting.
Pain will become interesting.
Buds that open out of season will become lovely again.
Second-hand gloves will become lovely again,
their memories are what give them
the need for other hands. And the desolation
of lovers is the same: that enormous emptiness
carved out of such tiny beings as we are
asks to be filled; the need
for the new love is faithfulness to the old.

Wait.
Don’t go too early.
You’re tired. But everyone’s tired.
But no one is tired enough.
Only wait a while and listen.
Music of hair,
Music of pain,
music of looms weaving all our loves again.
Be there to hear it, it will be the only time,
most of all to hear,
the flute of your whole existence,
rehearsed by the sorrows, play itself into total exhaustion.

()

Update on 24 August 2011: Andrew Bird sings Wait, based on the poem above. Thank you, A. It is beautiful.