Tuesday, September 12, 2006

This Room, This World

A new poem:

Improvisation on a Line From Weldon Kees
For Naomi

If this room is our world, then let
that other world be damned. This
faint light on your face is all I need
to live by, your face the only book
I need to read. Let day be damned, and
daylight that stings the eyes, illuminates
the cracks and clutter, and silences
the crickets that rasp a lullaby sweeter
than the morning birds’ orisons.

September 11, 2006

The Kees poem that inspired this is "If This Room Is Our World." It can be found in his Collected Poems, or in the wonderful anthology Acquainted With the Night, a collection of poems about insomnia, where I encountered it this time. If you don't know the poems of Weldon Kees, you should make the effort to become acquainted. He is far less well known than his midcentury contemporaries like Lowell, Berryman, and Jarrell, but I come back to his work over and over. No one has captured alienation, anomie, and that sense of being out-of-time any better.


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