Taking a break

As I do every summer, I’m going camping.

Here’s one more poem by Jack Gilbert for the poetry crowd.

I Imagine the Gods

I imagine the gods saying, We will
make it up to you. We will give you
three wishes, they say. Let me see
the squirrels again, I tell them.
Let me eat some of the great hog
stuffed and roasted on its giant spit
and put out, steaming, into the winter
of my neighborhood when I was usually
too broke to afford even the hundred grams
I ate so happily walking up the cobbles,
past the Street of the Moon
and the Street of the Birdcage-Makers,
the Street of Silence and the Street
of the Little Pissing. We can give you
wisdom, they say in their rich voices.
Let me go at last to Hugette, I say,
who timidly invited me to her room
when I was too young and bewildered
that first year in Paris.
Let me at least fail at my life.
Think, they say patiently, we could
make you famous again. Let me fall
in love one last time, I beg them.
Teach me mortality, frighten me
into the present. Help me to find
the heft of these days. That the nights
will be full enough and my heart feral.

Jack Gilbert

I’ll be back in a week, hopefully with a more feral heart.

4 thoughts on “Taking a break

  1. “Teach me mortality, frighten me into the present”
    This could be a invocation on it’s own. A rosary beaded with this startling plea.
    Over and over, a least a novena’s worth.

    1. Thanks, Simone! It is a pretty neat poem, I think–and should inspire good camping. Hope I’m not too frightened into the present though.

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