Thursday, April 9, 2015

Gerald Stern

Gerald Stern [Poetry Foundation]

by Gerald Stern

I was alone and I could do what I wanted —
I couldn’t believe my luck — if I wanted to sleep
at ten in the morning I could sleep or two
in the afternoon, if that was my time, or wander
by car or foot delicately in the night
when everything was resting exhausted and stop to
eat in quiet, no humor at last, oh coffee,
coffee, I was sitting alone at a counter —
I was in a painting sort of — closeness
closer than love between me and the waitress,
and when I paid the bill more closeness, I walked
from window to window, once I walked the length
of Amsterdam Avenue, once I walked from Lake
Garda to Venice, a hundred miles, and Venice
south to Florence, through Bologna; I ate
mortadella cheap I washed in the fountains
I slept with the barking dogs and twice in my life
I woke up surrounded, once on the floor of a train station,
once on the floor of a bank. I left at five
or six in the morning; I put my keys in a bottle;
I wore two pair of socks and hid my money.

Grass and Water

The geese have their heaven and I have mine,
though both are made of grass and water and both
have sudden subtle bridges where the carved stone
changes color under the presumptive arches,
and it is microcosmic and symbolic
so I could be there lying under the stars,
if it is one of the hazy afternoons,
and even mistake the birdlime for the Milky Way
or one drop of water in the sunlight
for one of the late afternoons, though nothing I know
will save them even though their eggs are like steel,
even though their guards are wise; whereas I
still am struggling, I with the soft egg, I
with the infantile presidents. You should see me
explaining things to them, below the bridge
this side of the river, not for one good second
ridiculing them. I still am reading and thinking;
I still am comparing; and I am spending my time
like one or two others in understanding, that is
a type of heaven too, at least for me it is,
holding on to the stabbed uprooted sycamore.

No comments:

Post a Comment