Time does not finish a poem.
Is like a lake
That lies there without any thought
The birds fly
Bewildered by its blue without any thought of water
Without any thought
A Red Wheelbarrow
Rest and look at this goddamned wheelbarrow. Whatever
It is. Dogs and crocodiles, sunlamps. Not
For their significance.
For their significant. For being human
The signs escape you. You, who aren't very bright
Are a signal for them. Not,
I mean, the dogs and crocodiles, sunlamps. Not
Fifteen False Propositions Against God - Section XIV
If the diamond ring turns brass
Mama's going to buy you a looking glass
Marianne Moore and Ezra Pound and William Carlos Williams
going on a picnic together when they were all students at the
University of Pennsylvania
Now they are all over seventy and the absent baby
Is a mirror sheltering their image.
This ocean, humiliating in its disguises
Tougher than anything.
No one listens to poetry. The ocean
Does not mean to be listened to. A drop
Or crash of water. It means
Is bread and butter
Pepper and salt. The death
That young men hope for. Aimlessly
It pounds the shore. White and aimless signals. No
One listens to poetry.
A dead starfish on a beach
He has five branches
Representing the five senses
Representing the jokes we did not tell each other
Call the earth flat
Call other people human
But let this creature lie
Flat upon our senses
Like a love
Prefigured in the sea
And went to water
All the oceans
Of emotion. All the oceans of emotion
are full of such ffish
Is this dead one of such importance?
An angel without angelness
Plucked clear by will of taste, color,
Strength, beauty, roundness, seed
Absent of all God painted, present everything
An apple is.
An angel without angelness
That has revised itself out of sound
Imagine, rhyme, concordance
Absent of all God spoke of, present everything
A poem is.
The law I say, the Law
What is Lucifer
An emperor with no clothes
No skin, no flesh, no heart
Berkeley in Time of Plague
Plague took us and the land from under us,
Rose like a boil, enclosing us within.
We waited and the blue skies writhed awhile
Becoming black with death.
Plague took us and the chairs from under us,
Stepped cautiously while entering the room
(We were discussing Yeats): it paused awhile
Then smiled and made us die.
Plague took us, laughed, and reproportioned us,
Swelled us to dizzy, unaccustomed size.
We died prodigiously; it hurt awhile
But left a certain quiet in our eyes.
One Night Stand
Listen, you silk-hearted bastard,
I said in the bar last night,
You wear those dream clothes
Like a swan out of water.
Listen, you wool-feathered bastard,
My name, just for the record, is Leda.
I can remember pretending
That your red silk tie is a real heart
That your raw wool suit is real flesh
That you could float beside me with a swan’s touch
Of casual satisfaction.
But not the swan’s blood.
Waking tomorrow, I remember only
Somebody’s feathers and his wrinkled heart
Draped loosely in my bed.
A Poem Without a Single Bird in It
What can I say to you, darling,
When you ask me for help?
I do not even know the future
Or even what poetry
We are going to write.
Commit suicide. Go mad. Better people
Than either of us have tried it.
I loved you once but
I do not know the future.
I only know that I love strength in my friends
And hate the way their bodies crack when they die
And are eaten by images.
The fun’s over. The picnic’s over.
Go mad. Commit suicide. There will be nothing left
After you die or go mad,
But the calmness of poetry.