Thursday, December 20, 2007

Galway Kinnell

When One has Lived a Long Time Alone

When one has lived a long time alone,
one refrains from swatting the fly
and lets him go, and one hesitates to strike
the mosquito, though more than willing to slap
the flesh under her, and one lifts the toad
from the pit too deep to hop out of
and carries him to the grass, without minding
the poisoned urine he slicks his body with,
and one envelops, in a towel, the swift
who fell down the chimney and knocks herself
against window glass and releases her outside
and watches her fly free, a life line flung at reality,
when one has lived a ling time alone.


August said...

I posted this poem in June 2006, but I woke this morning half reciting it.

Five years ago, roughly around this time, I first read the poem. I was waiting on the subway platform. Suddenly I was weeping as I hadn’t in a long while.

Tears and all I read it again, but aloud. The delicious sound of my own voice, because of the echo, made me weep more. I’ve not since felt so close to myself.

Glamourpuss said...

My God, that's sad.

The poem. Not your comment.


Paul said...

I love that poem. Thanks for posting it!

Pawlie Kokonuts said...

I like the poem's reverence and particularity. In 1981, I heard Galway Kinnell read at the American Academy of Arts and Letter annual event. That year, John Cheever was the MC. Others there: Eudora Welty, Larry Woiwode, William Maxwell (to whom Mr. Woiwode introduced me, unworthy me), Tom Wolfe, et alia. For my recent birthday, I received two requested books of poetry, one by Jean Valentine and another by Eamon Grennan ("The Quick of It.").

irishpoetry said...

There are a lot of emotions wrapped up in this poem. Thanks for sharing.