Robert Creeley: Selected Poems, 1945-2005
edited by Benjamin Friedlander
$21.95, University of California Press
I continue to describe my discovery of the poet Robert Creeley as "drowning". I feel entirely sucked under the weight of his words, despite their simplicity and sameness. A number of his poems stand out for me for reasons having more to do with initial gut reactions than to anything I may or may not know about poetry.
of the transience of subtle experiences in Things to Do in Tokyo
Begin at the beginning,
find the end.
forget it. Go on,
and on. Find ecstasy,
of longing in A Form of Women
I could not touch you.
I wanted very much to
but could not.
of enduring love in The Act of Love
to me, how love-
ly all your body is, how
that in your very
arms I still
can think of you.
And of old age, and impending death in Old Song
I'm feeling ok still in some small way.
I've come too far to just go away.
I wish I could stay here some way.
So that what now comes wouldn't only be more
of what's to be lost. What's left would still leave more
to come if one didn't rush to get there.
Then we have the poem which should be every writer's prayer: End
End of page,
end of this
company -- wee
my mind in hand,
let the world stay
open to me
day after day,
words to say,
things to be.
The number of shining, beautiful poems in this insightful collection is to great to share them all with you here. This is only a taste. Pick it up. Read straight through to experience Creeley's changing perspectives on life, love, loss and eventual aging and death. It is a timeline of a soul that will not leave yours unaffected.