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. . Poems Robert Creeley

. . Poems Robert Creeley.

 

/ Robert Creeley, (21 1926 30 2005) .

 

A Form Of Women

I have come far enough
from where I was not before
to have seen the things
looking in at me from through the open door

and have walked tonight
by myself
to see the moonlight
and see it as trees

and shapes more fearful
because I feared
what I did not know
but have wanted to know.

My facd is my own, I thought.
But you have seen it
turn into a thousand years.
I watched you cry.

I could not touch you.
I wanted very much to
touch you
but could not.

If it is dark
when this is given to you,
have care for its content
when the moon shines.

My face is my own.
My hands are my own.
My mouth is my own
but I am not.

Moon, moon,
whn you leave me alone
all the darkness is
an utter blackness,

a pit of fear,
a stench,
hands unreasonable
never to touch.

But I love you.
Do you love me.
What to say
when you see me.

 

A Marriage

The first retainer
he gave to her
was a golden
wedding ring.

The second--late at night
we woke up,
leaned over on an elbow,
and kissed her.

The third and the last--
he died with
and gave up loving
and lived with her.

 

A Song

I had wanted a quiet testament
and I had wanted, among other things,
a song.
That was to be
of a like monotony.
(A grace
Simply. Very very quiet.
A murmur of some lost
thrush, though I have never seen one.

Which was you then. Sitting
and so, at peace, so very much now this same quiet.

A song.

And of you the sign now, surely, of a gross
perpetuity
(which is not reluctant, or if it is,
it is no longer important.

A song.

Which one sings, if he sings it,
with care.

 

A Token

My lady
fair with
soft
arms, what

can I say to
you-words, words
as if all
worlds were there.

 

A Wicker Basket

Comes the time when it's later
and onto your table the headwaiter
puts the bill, and very soon after
rings out the sound of lively laughter--

Picking up change, hands like a walrus,
and a face like a barndoor's,
and a head without any apparent size,
nothing but two eyes--

So that's you, man,
or me. I make it as I can,
I pick up, I go
faster than they know--

Out the door, the street like a night,
any night, and no one in sight,
but then, well, there she is,
old friend Liz--

And she opens the door of her cadillac,
I step in back,
and we're gone.
She turns me on--

There are very huge stars, man, in the sky,
and from somewhere very far off someone hands
me a slice of apple pie,
with a gob of white, white ice cream on top of it,
and I eat it--

Slowly. And while certainly
they are laughing at me, and all around me is racket
of these cats not making it, I make it

in my wicker basket.

 

Age

Most explicit--
the sense of trap

as a narrowing
cone one's got

stuck into and
any movement

forward simply
wedges once more--

but where
or quite when,

even with whom,
since now there is no one

quite with you--Quite? Quiet?
English expression: Quait?

Language of singular
impedance? A dance? An

involuntary gesture to
others not there? What's

wrong here? How
reach out to the

other side all
others live on as

now you see the
two doctors, behind

you, in mind's eye,
probe into your anus,

or ass, or bottom,
behind you, the roto-

rooter-like device
sees all up, concludes

"like a worn-out inner tube,"
"old," prose prolapsed, person's

problems won't do, must
cut into, cut out . . .

The world is a round but
diminishing ball, a spherical

ice cube, a dusty
joke, a fading,

faint echo of its
former self but remembers,

sometimes, its past, sees
friends, places, reflections,

talks to itself in a fond,
judgemental murmur,

alone at last.
I stood so close

to you I could have
reached out and

touched you just
as you turned

over and began to
snore not unattractively,

no, never less than
attractively, my love,

my love--but in this
curiously glowing dark, this

finite emptiness, you, you, you
are crucial, hear the

whimpering back of
the talk, the approaching

fears when I may
cease to be me, all

lost or rather lumped
here in a retrograded,

dislocating, imploding
self, a uselessness

talks, even if finally to no one,
talks and talks.

 

America

America, you ode for reality!
Give back the people you took.

Let the sun shine again
on the four corners of the world

you thought of first but do not
own, or keep like a convenience.

People are your own word, you
invented that locus and term.

Here, you said and say, is
where we are. Give back

what we are, these people you made,
us, and nowhere but you to be.

 

For Love

for Bobbie

Yesterday I wanted to
speak of it, that sense above
the others to me
important because all

that I know derives
from what it teaches me.
Today, what is it that
is finally so helpless,

different, despairs of its own
statement, wants to
turn away, endlessly
to turn away.

If the moon did not ...
no, if you did not
I wouldnt either, but
what would I not

do, what prevention, what
thing so quickly stopped.
That is love yesterday
or tomorrow, not

now. Can I eat
what you give me. I
have not earned it. Must
I think of everything

as earned. Now love also
becomes a reward so
remote from me I have
only made it with my mind.

Here is tedium,
despair, a painful
sense of isolation and
whimsical if pompous

self-regard. But that image
is only of the minds
vague structure, vague to me
because it is my own.

Love, what do I think
to say. I cannot say it.
What have you become to ask,
what have I made you into,

companion, good company,
crossed legs with skirt, or
soft body under
the bones of the bed.

Nothing says anything
but that which it wishes
would come true, fears
what else might happen in

some other place, some
other time not this one.
A voice in my place, an
echo of that only in yours.

Let me stumble into
not the confession but
the obsession I begin with
now. For you

also (also)
some time beyond place, or
place beyond time, no
mind left to

say anything at all,
that face gone, now.
Into the company of love
it all returns.

 

For No Clear Reason

I dreamt last night
the fright was over, that
the dust came, and then water,
and women and men, together
again, and all was quiet
in the dim moons light.

A paean of such patience
laughing, laughing at me,
and the days extend over
the earths great cover,
grass, trees, and flower-
ing season, for no clear reason.

 

Four Days In Vermont

Window's tree trunk's predominant face
a single eye-leveled hole where limb's torn off
another larger contorts to swell growing in around
imploding wound beside a clutch of thin twigs
hold to one two three four five six dry twisted
yellowish brown leaves flat against the other
gray trees in back stick upright then the glimpse
of lighter still grayish sky behind the close
welted solid large trunk with clumps of gray-green
lichen seen in boxed glass squared window back
of two shaded lamps on brown chiffonier between
two beds echo in mirror on far wall of small room.

 

Helsinki Window

for Anselm Hollo

Go out into brightened
space out there the fainter
yellowish place it
makes for eye to enter out
to greyed penumbra all the
way to thoughtful searching
sight of all beyond that
solid red both brick and seeming
metal roof or higher black
beyond the genial slope I
look at daily house top on
my own way up to heaven.

*

Same roof, lights gone
down back of it, behind
the crying end of day, I
need something to do, its
been again those other
things, whats out there,
sodden edge of seas
bay, citys graveyard, park
deserted, flattened aspect,
leaves gone colored fall
to sidewalk, street, the end
of all these days but
still this regal light.

*

Trees stripped, rather shed
of leaves, the black solid trunks up
to fibrous mesh of smaller
branches, it is weathers window,
weathers particular echo, here
as if this place had been once,
now vacant, a door that had had
hinges swung in airs peculiar
emptiness, greyed, slumped elsewhere,
asphalt blank of sidewalks, line of
linearly absolute black metal fence.

*

Old sky freshened with cloud bulk
slides over frame of window the
shadings of softened greys a light
of air up out of this dense high
structured enclosure of buildings
top or pushed up flat of bricked roof
frame I love I love the safety of
small world this door frame back
of me the panes of simple glass yet
airy up sweep of birch trees sit in
flat below all designation declaration
here as clouds move so simply away.

*

Windows now lit close out the
upper dark the nights a face
three eyes far fainter than
the day all faced with light
inside the room makes eye re-
flective see the common world
as one again no outside coming
in no more than walls and post-
card pictures place faces across
that cautious dark the tree no
longer seen more than black edge
close branches somehow still between.

*

He was at the edge of this
reflective echo the words blown
back in air a bubble of suddenly
apparent person who walked to
sit down by the familiar brook and
thought about his fading life
all fading life in tremulous airy
perspect saw it hover in the surface
of that moving darkness at the edge
of suns passing waters sudden depth
his own hands knotted surface the
sounding in himself of some other.

*

One forty five afternoon red
car parked left hand side
of street no distinguishing
feature still wet day a bicycle
across the way a green door-
way with arched upper window
a backyard edge of back wall
to enclosed alley low down small
windows and two other cars green
and blue parked too and miles
and more miles still to go.

*

This early still sunless morning when a chairs
creak translates to cats cry a blackness still
out the window might be apparent night when the
house still sleeping behind me seems a bag of
immense empty silence and I feel the children
still breathing still shifting their dreams an
enigma will soon arrive here and the loved one
centers all in her heavy sleeping arm out the
leg pushed down bedclothes this body unseen un-
known placed out there in night I can feel all
about me still sitting in this small spare pool of
light watching the letters the words try to speak.

*

Classic emptiness it
sits out there edge of
hierarchic roof top it
marks with acid fine edge
of apparent difference it
is there here here that
sky so up and out and where
it wants to be no birds no
other thing can for a
moment distract it be
beyond its simple space.

 

I Know A Man

As I sd to my
friend, because I am
always talking,--John, I

sd, which was not his
name, the darkness sur-
rounds us, what

can we do against
it, or else, shall we &
why not, buy a goddamn big car,

drive, he sd, for
christ's sake, look
out where yr going.

 

Inside My Head

inside my head

Inside my head a common room,
a common place, a common tune,
a common wealth, a common doom

inside my head. I close my eyes.
The horses run. Vast are the skies,
and blue my passing thoughts surprise

inside my head. What is this space
here found to be, what is this place
if only me? Inside my head, whose face?

the tools

First there, it proves to be still here.
Distant as seen, it comes then to be near.
I found it here and there unclear.

What if my hand had only been
extension of an outside reaching in
to work with common means to change me then?

All things are matter, yet these seem
caught in the impatience of a dream,
locked in the awkwardness they mean.

the swan

Peculiar that swan should mean a sound?
Id thought of gods and power, and wounds.
But here in the curious quiet this one has settled down.

All day the barking dogs were kept at bay.
Better than dogs, a single swan, they say,
will keep all such malignant force away

and so preserve a calm, make pond a swelling lake
sound through the silent grove a shattering spate
of resonances, jarring the mind awake.

the rose

Into ones self come in again,
here as if ever now to once again begin
with beautys old, old problem never-ending

Go, lovely rose ... So was that story told
in some extraordinary place then, once upon a time so old
it seems an echo now as it again unfolds.

I point to me to look out at the world.
I see the white, white petals of this rose unfold.
I know such beauty in the world grows cold.

the skull

Come closer. Now there is nothing left
either inside or out to gainsay death,
the skull that keeps its secrets saith.

The ways one went, the forms that were
empty as wind and yet they stirred
the heart to its passion, all is passed over.

Lighten the load. Close the eyes.
Let the mind loosen, the body die,
the bird fly off to the opening sky.

the star

Such space it comes again to be,
a room of such vast possibility,
a depth so great, a way so free.

Life and its person, thinking to find
a company wherewith to keep the time
a peaceful passage, a constant rhyme,

stumble perforce, must lose their way,
know that they go too far to stay
stars in the sky, children at play.

 

Kore

As I was walking
I came upon
chance walking
the same road upon.

As I sat down
by chance to move
later
if and as I might,

light the wood was,
light and green,
and what I saw
before I had not seen.

It was a lady
accompanied
by goat men
leading her.

Her hair held earth.
Her eyes were dark.
A double flute
made her move.

"O love,
where are you
leading
me now?"

 

Love

The thing comes
of itself

(Look up
to see
the cat & the squirrel,
the one
torn, a red thing,
& the other
somehow immaculate

 

Myself

What, younger, felt
was possible, now knows
is not - but still
not chanted enough -

Walked by the sea,
unchanged in memory -
evening, as clouds
on the far-off rim

of water float,
pictures of time,
smoke, faintness -
still the dream.

I want, if older,
still to know
why, human, men
and women are

so torn, so lost,
why hopes cannot
find better world
than this.

Shelley is dead and gone,
who said,
"Taught them not this -
to know themselves;

their might could not repress
the mutiny within,
And for the morn
of truth they feigned,

deep night
Caught them ere evening . . ."

 

Other

Having begun in thought there
in that factual embodied wonder
what was lost in the emptied lovers
patience and mind I first felt there
wondered again and again what for
myself so meager and finally singular
despite all issued therefrom whether
sister or mother or brother and father
come to love's emptied place too late
to feel it again see again first there
all the peculiar wet tenderness the care
of her for whom to be other was first fate.

 

Self-Portrait

He wants to be
a brutal old man,
an aggressive old man,
as dull, as brutal
as the emptiness around him,

He doesnt want compromise,
nor to be ever nice
to anyone. Just mean,
and final in his brutal,
his total, rejection of it all.

He tried the sweet,
the gentle, the oh,
lets hold hands together
and it was awful,
dull, brutally inconsequential.

Now hell stand on
his own dwindling legs.
His arms, his skin,
shrink daily. And
he loves, but hates equally.

 

Something

I approach with such
a careful tremor, always
I feel the finally foolish

question of how it is,
then, supposed to be felt,
and by whom. I remember

once in a rented room on
27th street, the woman I loved
then, literally, after we

had made love on the large
bed sitting across from
a basin with two faucets, she

had to pee but was nervous,
embarrassed I suppose I
would watch her who had but

a moment ago been completely
open to me, naked, on
the same bed. Squatting, her

head reflected in the mirror,
the hair dark there, the
full of her face, the shoulders,

sat spread-legged, turned on
one faucet and shyly pissed. What
love might learn from such a sight.

 

Somewhere

The galloping collection of boards
are the house which I afforded
one evening to walk into
just as the night came down.

Dark inside, the candle
lit of its own free will, the attic
groaned then, the stairs
led me up into the air.

From outside, it must have seemed
a wonder that it was
the inside he as me saw
in the dark there.

 

Song

What I took in my hand
grew in weight. You must
understand it
was not obscene.

Night comes. We sleep.
Then if you know what
say it.
Don't pretend.

Guises are
what enemies wear. You
and I live
in a prayer.

Helpless. Helpless,
should I speak.
Would you.
What do you think of me.

No woman ever was,
was wiser
than you. None is
more true.

But fate, love, fate
scares me. What
I took in my hand
grows in weight.

 

The Carnival

Whereas the man who hits
the gong dis-
proves it, in all its
simplicity --

Even so the attempt
makes for triumph, in
another man.

Likewise in love I
am not foolish or in-
competent. My method is not a

tenderness, but hope
defined.

 

The Conspiracy

You send me your poems,
I'll send you mine.

Things tend to awaken
even through random communication

Let us suddenly
proclaim spring. And jeer

at the others,
all the others.

I will send a picture too
if you will send me one of you.

 

The Immoral Proposition

If you never do anything for anyone else
you are spared the tragedy of human relation-

ships. If quietly and like another time
there is the passage of an unexpected thing:

to look at it is more
than it was. God knows

nothing is competent nothing is
all there is. The unsure

egoist is not
good for himself.

 

The Innocence

Looking to the sea, it is a line
of unbroken mountains.

It is the sky.
It is the ground. There
we live it, on it.

It is a mist
now tangent to another
quiet. Here the leaves
come, there
is the rock in evidence

or evidence.
What I come to do
is partial, partially kept.

 

The Language

Locate I
love you some-
where in

teeth and
eyes, bite
it but

take care not
to hurt, you
want so

much so
little. Words
say everything.

I
love you
again,

then what
is emptiness
for. To

fill, fill.
I heard words
and words full

of holes
aching. Speech
is a mouth.

 

The Measure

I cannot
move backward
or forward.
I am caught

in the time
as measure.
What we think
of we think of

of no other reason
we think than
just to think
each for himself.

 

The Mirror

Seeing is believing.
Whatever was thought or said,

these persistent, inexorable deaths
make faith as such absent,

our humanness a question,
a disgust for what we are.

Whatever the hope,
here it is lost.

Because we coveted our difference,
here is the cost.

 

The Pattern

As soon as
I speak, I
speaks. It

wants to
be free but
impassive lies

in the direction
of its
words. Let

x equal x, x
also
equals x. I

speak to
hear myself
speak? I

had not thought
that some-
thing had such

undone. It
was an idea
of mine.

 

The Pool

My embarrassment at his nakedness,
at the pools edge,
and my wife, with his,
standing, watching

this was a freedom
not given me who am
more naked,
less contained

by my own white flesh
and the ability
to take quietly
what comes to me.

The sense of myself
separate, grew
a white mirror
in the quiet water

he breaks with his hands
and feet, kicking,
pulls up to land
on the edge by the feet

of these women
who must know
that for each
man is a speech

describes him, makes
the day grow white
and sure, a quietness of water
in the mind,

lets hang, descriptive
as a risk, something
for which he cannot find
a means or time.

 

The Rain

All night the sound had
come back again,
and again falls
this quite, persistent rain.

What am I to myself
that must be remembered,
insisted upon
so often? Is it

that never the ease,
even the hardness,
of rain falling
will have for me

something other than this,
something not so insistent--
am I to be locked in this
final uneasiness.

Love, if you love me,
lie next to me.
Be for me, like rain,
the getting out

of the tiredness, the fatuousness, the semi-
lust of intentional indifference.
Be wet
with a decent happiness.

 

The Rescue

The man sits in a timelessness
with the horse under him in time
to a movement of legs and hooves
upon a timeless sand.

Distance comes in from the foreground
present in the picture as time
he reads outward from
and comes from that beginning.

A wind blows in
and out and all about the man
as the horse ran
and runs to come in time.

A house is burning in the sand.
A man and horse are burning.
The wind is burning.
They are running to arrive.

 

The Rhythm

It is all a rhythm,
from the shutting
door, to the window
opening,

the seasons, the sun's
light, the moon,
the oceans, the
growing of things,

the mind in men
personal, recurring
in them again,
thinking the end

is not the end, the
time returning,
themselves dead but
someone else coming.

If in death I am dead,
then in life also
dying, dying...
And the women cry and die.

The little children
grown only to old men.
The grass dries,
the force goes.

But is met by another
returning, oh not mine,
not mine, and
in turn dies.

The rhythm which projects
from itself continuity
bending all to its force
from window to door,
from ceiling to floor,
light at the opening,
dark at the closing.

 

The Sentence

There is that in love
which, by the syntax of,
men find women and join
their bodies to their minds

--which wants so to acquire
a continuity, a place,
a demonstration that it must
be one's own sentence.

 

The Warning

For love-I would
split open your head and put
a candle in
behind the eyes.

Love is dead in us
if we forget
the virtues of an amulet
and quick surprise.

 

The Way

My love's manners in bed
are not to be discussed by me,
as mine by her
I would not credit comment upon gracefully.

Yet I ride by the margin of that lake in
the wood, the castle,
and the excitement of strongholds;
and have a small boy's notion of doing good.

Oh well, I will say here,
knowing each man,
let you find a good wife too,
and love her as hard as you can.

 

The Window

Position is where you
put it, where it is,
did you, for example, that

large tank there, silvered,
with the white church along-
side, lift

all that, to what
purpose? How
heavy the slow

world is with
everything put
in place. Some

man walks by, a
car beside him on
the dropped

road, a leaf of
yellow color is
going to

fall. It
all drops into
place. My

face is heavy
with the sight. I can
feel my eye breaking.

 

The World

I wanted so ably
to reassure you, I wanted
the man you took to be me,

to comfort you, and got
up, and went to the window,
pushed back, as you asked me to,

the curtain, to see
the outline of the trees
in the night outside.

The light, love,
the light we felt then,
grayly, was it, that
came in, on us, not
merely my hands or yours,
or a wetness so comfortable,

but in the dark then
as you slept, the gray
figure came so close

and leaned over,
between us, as you
slept, restless, and

my own face had to
see it, and be seen by it,
the man it was, your

gray lost tired bewildered
brother, unused, untaken -
hated by love, and dead,

but not dead, for an
instant, saw me, myself
the intruder, as he was not.

I tried to say, it is
all right, she is
happy, you are no longer

needed. I said,
he is dead, and he
went as you shifted
and woke, at first afraid,
then knew by my own knowing
what had happened -

and the light then
of the sun coming
for another morning
in the world.

 

Water Music

The words are a beautiful music.
The words bounce like in water.

Water music,
loud in the clearing

off the boats,
birds, leaves.

They look for a place
to sit and eat--

no meaning,
no point.

 

Yesterdays

Sixty-two, sixty-three, I most remember
As time W. C. Williams dies and we are
Back from a hard two years in Guatemala
Where the meager provision of being
Schoolmaster for the kids of the patrones
Of two coffee plantations has managed
Neither a life nor money. Leslie dies in
Horror of bank giving way as she and her
Sister and their friends tunnel in to make
A cubby. We live in an old cement brick
Farmhouse already inside the city limits
Of Albuquerque. Or that has all really
Happened and we go to Vancouver where,
Thanks to friends Warren and Ellen Tallman,
I get a job teaching at the University of British
Columbia. Its all a curious dream, a rush
To get out of the country before the sad
Invasion of the Bay of Pigs, that bleak use
Of power. One of my British colleagues
Has converted the assets of himself and
His wife to gold bullion and keeps the
Ingots in a sturdy suitcase pushed under
Their bed. I love the young, at least I
Think I do, in their freshness, their attempt
To find ways into Canada from the western
Reaches. Otherwise the local country seems
Like a faded Edwardian sitcom. A stunned
Stoned woman runs one Saturday night up
And down the floors of the Hydro Electric
Building on Pender with the RCMP in hot
Pursuit where otherwise we stood in long
Patient lines, extending often several blocks
Up the street. We were waiting to get our
Hands stamped and to be given a 12 pack
Of Molsons. I think, I dream, I write the
Final few chapters of The Island, the despairs
Gathering at the end. I read Richard Brautigans
Trout Fishing In America but am too uptight
To enjoy his quiet, bright wit. Then that
Summer there is the great Vancouver Poetry
Festival, Allen comes back from India, Olson
From Gloucester, beloved Robert Duncan
From Stinson Beach. Denise reads Hypocrite
Women to the Burnaby ladies and Gary Snyder,
Philip Whalen, and Margaret Avison are there
Too along with a veritable host of the young.
Then its autumn again. Ive quit my job
And we head back to Albuquerque
And I teach again at the university, and
Sometime just about then I must have
Seen myself as others see or saw me,
Even like in a mirror, but could not quite
Accept either their reassuring friendship
Or their equally locating anger. Selfish,
Empty, I kept at it. Thirty-eight years later
I seem to myself still much the same,
Even if I am happier, I think, and older.

 

Zero

for Mark Peters

Not just nothing,
Not there's no answer,
Not it's nowhere or
Nothing to show for it -

It's like There's no past like
the present. It's
all over with us.
There are no doors...

Oh my god! Like
I wish I had a dog.
Oh my god!
I had a dog but he's gone.

His name was Zero,
something for nothing!
You like dog biscuits?
Fill in the blank.

. . Poems Robert Creeley
Copyright 2005-2017 . . ! !
, , homeenglish@mail.ru