Mark Strand, New Selected Poems (New York: Knopf, 2007): 78. PS 3569.T69 A6 2007X Robarts Library
1You sit in a chair, touched by nothing, feeling
2the old self become the older self, imagining
3only the patience of water, the boredom of stone.
4You think that silence is the extra page,
5you think that nothing is good or bad, not even
6the darkness that fills the house while you sit watching
7it happen. You’ve seen it happen before. Your friends
8move past the window, their faces soiled with regret.
9You want to wave but cannot raise your hand.
10You sit in a chair. You turn to the nightshade spreading
11a poisonous net around the house. You taste
12the honey of absence. It is the same wherever
13you are, the same if the voice rots before
14the body, or the body rots before the voice.
15You know that desire leads only to sorrow, that sorrow
16leads to achievement which leads to emptiness.
17You know that this is different, that this
18is the celebration, the only celebration,
19that by giving yourself over to nothing,
20you shall be healed. You know there is joy in feeling
21your lungs prepare themselves for an ashen future,
22so you wait, you stare and you wait, and the dust settles
23and the miraculous hours of childhood wander in darkness.
Publication Start Year
The Story of Our Lives, 1973.
RPO poem Editors