Wednesday, August 19, 2009


Those blessèd structures, plot and rhyme--
why are they no help to me now
I want to make
something imagined, not recalled?
I hear the noise of my own voice:
The painter's vision is not a lens,
it trembles to caress the light.

But sometimes everything I write
with the threadbare art of my eye
seems a snapshot,
lurid, rapid, garish, grouped,
heightened from life,
yet paralyzed by fact.
All's misalliance.
Yet why not say what happened?
Pray for the grace of accuracy
Vermeer gave to the sun's illumination
stealing like the tide across a map
to his girl solid with yearning.
We are poor passing facts,
warned by that to give
each figure in the photograph
his living name.

-- Robert Lowell (with a nod to Tania Kindersley)

1 comment:

Tania Kindersley said...

Oh oh oh OH you are lovely. I have worshipped Lowell since I was a raw schoolgirl. I loved all those dark muscular poems about Nantucket and the flat bleak ones about love dying when I was a nihilistic fifteen-year-old. But I did not know Epilogue, and it is so ravishing it is making me smile, so thank you for showing it to me. xx