Poetry

Poetry Sunday: Linda Gregg Tribute

Let Birds

Eight deer on the slope
in the summer morning mist.
The night sky blue.
Me like a mare let out to pasture.
The Tao does not console me.
I was given the Way
in the milk of childhood.
Breathing it waking and sleeping.
But now there is no amazing smell
of sperm on my thighs,
no spreading it on my stomach
to show pleasure.
I will never give up longing.
I will let my hair stay long.
The rain proclaims these trees,
the trees tell of the sun.
Let birds, let birds.
Let leaf be passion.
Let jaw, let teeth, let tongue be
between us. Let joy.
Let entering. Let rage and calm join.
Let quail come.
Let winter impress you. Let spring.
Allow the ocean to wake in you.
Let the mare in the field
in the summer morning mist
make you whinny. Make you come
to the fence and whinny. Let birds.

“Let Birds,” Copyright © 2008 by Linda Gregg, from All of It Singing: New and Selected Poems and used by permission of Graywolf Press. All rights reserved. www.graywolfpress.org

 

There She Is

When I go into the garden, there she is.
The specter holds up her arms to show
that her hands are eaten off.
She is silent because of the agony.
There is blood on her face.
I can see she has done this to herself.
So she would not feel the other pain.
And it is true, she does not feel it.
She does not even see me.
It is not she anymore, but the pain itself
that moves her. I look and think
how to forget. How can I live while she
stands there? And if I take her life
what will that make of me? I cannot
touch her, make her conscious.
It would hurt her too much.
I hear the sound all through the air
that was her eating, but it is on its own now,
completely separate from her. I think
I am supposed to look. I am not supposed
to turn away. I am supposed to see each detail
and all expression gone. My God, I think,
if paradise is to be here
it will have to include her.

“There She Is,” Copyright © 2008 by Linda Gregg, from All of It Singing: New and Selected Poems and used by permission of Graywolf Press. All rights reserved. www.graywolfpress.org

 

Gregg talks about and reads the poem aloud here.

You can order Linda Gregg’s All of It Singing: New and Selected Poems at Indiebound or Amazon and can read a review at The Los Angeles Time. A treasure trove of Gregg’s poems, many including audio files, can be found here.Read Gregg’s essay, “The Art of Finding,” here, Selected obituaries can be found here (New York Times), here (a wonderful personal tribute from Timothy Liu), and here.

Here is a personal account from Alex Dimitrov, which also describes his meeting Jack Gilbert, and you will find the poem he mentions, “Asking for Directions,” here.

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