Thursday, April 22, 2010

Galway Kinnell

The Room

The door closes on pain and confusion.
The candle flame wavers from side to side
as though trying to break itself in half
to color the shadows too with living light.
The andante movement plays over and over
its many triplets, like farm dogs yapping
at a melody made of the gratification-cries
of cocks. I will not stay long.
Nothing in experience led me to imagine
having. Having is destroying, according
to my version of the vow of impoverishment.
But here, in this brief, waxen light,
I have, and nothing is destroyed. The flute
that guttered those owl's notes into the waste hours
of childhood joins with the piano
and they play, Being is having. Having
may be simply the grace of the shell
moving without hesitation, with lively pride,
down the stubborn river of woe. At the far end,
a door no one dares open begins opening.
To go through it will awaken such regret
as only closing it behind can obliterate.
The candle flame's staggering makes the room
wobble and shift- matter itself, laughing.
I can't come back. I won't change.
I have the usual capacity for wanting
what may not even exist. Don't worry.
That is dew wetting my face.
You see? Nothing that enters the room
can have only its own meaning ever again.

-from " New and Selected Poems"

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