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Saturday, March 31, 2007

poetically speaking

Danielle is about to read a poetry anthology of Galway Kinnell's. This is one of his most delightful poems from that anthology:

After Making Love We Hear Footsteps

For I can snore like a bullhorn
or play loud music
or sit up talking with any reasonably sober Irishman
and Fergus will only sink deeper
into his dreamless sleep, which goes by all in one flash,
but let there be that heavy breathing
or a stifled come-cry anywhere in the house
and he will wrench himself awake
and make for it on the run - as now, we lie together,
after making love, quiet, touching along the length of our bodies, familiar touch of the long-married,
and he appears - in his baseball pajamas, it happens,
the neck opening so small
he has to screw them on, which one day may make him wonder
about the mental capacity of baseball players -
and flops down between us and hugs us and snuggles himself to sleep,
his face gleaming with satisfaction at being this very child.

In the half darkness we look at each other
and smile
and touch arms across his little, startling muscled body -
this one whom habit of memory propels to the ground of his making, sleeper only the mortal sounds can sing awake,
this blessing love gives again into our arms.

Galway Kinnell

This poem moved into my "pantheon of poems and poets" the first time I read it~


  1. I've never thought of a "pantheon of poems" but I guess I do have such a mental list. This poem is certainly one that made me catch my breath the first time I read it. It is so wonderful.

  2. cam - I adore it, as will almost anyone who has had children.

  3. Nice poem. I've not read much Kinnell. Kinnell fans might like to tune into Talking Volumes on public radio April 12th. Should be a good show.

  4. What a lovely poem. Oh, tell us more about your pantheon of poems and poets. I like that!

  5. iliana - I'll have to actually make a list (rather than the Marquee that lights up in my mind when I read a beloved poem). Sometimes the poet is there - like Yeats or Dylan Thomas, and sometimes the poem - like "Advice to My Son."

  6. I have started to listen to the poems on the CD that came with the book. Kinnell talks about each one briefly before reading them--it's pretty cool. He also has a great voice for reading aloud.

  7. danielle - I heard him read this one on NPR once, and he does have a great reading voice (unlike Yeats, whose reading of "The Lake Isle of Innisfree" is not my cup of tea). I'd love to hear Kinnell comment about his poems before reading them!