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Best Famous Robert Lowell Poems

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by Robert Lowell | |

To Speak of Woe That Is in Marriage

It is the future generation that presses into being by means of these exuberant feelings and supersensible soap bubbles of ours.
Schopenhauer The hot night makes us keep our bedroom windows open.
Our magnolia blossoms.
Life begins to happen.
My hopped up husband drops his home disputes, and hits the streets to cruise for prostitutes, free-lancing out along the razor's edge.
This screwball might kill his wife, then take the pledge.
Oh the monotonous meanness of his lust.
.
.
It's the injustice.
.
.
he is so unjust- Whiskey-blind, swaggering home at five.
My only thought is how to keep alive.
What makes him trick? Each night now I tie ten dollars and his car key to my thigh.
.
.
Gored by the climacteric of his want, he stalls above me like an elephant.


by Robert Lowell | |

History

History has to live with what was here,
clutching and close to fumbling all we had--
it is so dull and gruesome how we die,
unlike writing, life never finishes.
Abel was finished; death is not remote, a flash-in-the-pan electrifies the skeptic, his cows crowding like skulls against high-voltage wire, his baby crying all night like a new machine.
As in our Bibles, white-faced, predatory, the beautiful, mist-drunken hunter's moon ascends-- a child could give it a face: two holes, two holes, my eyes, my mouth, between them a skull's no-nose-- O there's a terrifying innocence in my face drenched with the silver salvage of the mornfrost


by Robert Lowell | |

Homecoming

What was is.
.
.
since 1930; The boys in my old gang are senior partners.
They start up bald like baby birds to embrace retirement.
At the altar of surrender I met you in the hour of credulity.
How your misfortune came our clearly to us at twenty.
At the gingerbread casino how innocent the nights we made it.
on our Vesuvio martinis with no vermouth but vodka to sweeten the dry gin- the lash across my face that night we adored.
.
.
soon every night and all when your sweet amorous repetition changed.


by Robert Lowell | |

Epilogue

Those blessed 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.


by Robert Lowell | |

To Speak of Woe That Is in Marriage

 "It is the future generation that presses into being by means of
 these exuberant feelings and supersensible soap bubbles of ours.
" --Schopenhauer "The hot night makes us keep our bedroom windows open.
Our magnolia blossoms.
Life begins to happen.
My hopped up husband drops his home disputes, and hits the streets to cruise for prostitutes, free-lancing out along the razor's edge.
This screwball might kill his wife, then take the pledge.
Oh the monotonous meanness of his lust.
.
.
It's the injustice .
.
.
he is so unjust-- whiskey-blind, swaggering home at five.
My only thought is how to keep alive.
What makes him tick? Each night now I tie ten dollars and his car key to my thigh.
.
.
.
Gored by the climacteric of his want, he stalls above me like an elephant.
"


by Robert Lowell | |

Identification In Belfast

 (I.
R.
A.
Bombing) The British Army now carries two rifles, one with rubber rabbit-pellets for children, the other's of course for the Provisionals.
.
.
.
'When they first showed me the boy, I thought oh good, it's not him because he's blonde— I imagine his hair was singed dark by the bomb.
He had nothing on him to identify him, except this box of joke trick matches; he liked to have them on him, even at mass.
The police were unhurried and wonderful, they let me go on trying to strike a match.
.
.
I just wouldn't stop—you cling to anything— I couldn't believe I couldn't light one match— only joke matches.
.
.
Then I knew he was Richard.
'


by Robert Lowell | |

Water

 It was a Maine lobster town—
each morning boatloads of hands
pushed off for granite
quarries on the islands,

and left dozens of bleak 
white frame houses stuck
like oyster shells
on a hill of rock,

and below us, the sea lapped
the raw little match-stick 
mazes of a weir,
where the fish for bait were trapped.
Remember? We sat on a slab of rock.
>From this distance in time it seems the color of iris, rotting and turning purpler, but it was only the usual gray rock turning the usual green when drenched by the sea.
The sea drenched the rock at our feet all day, and kept tearing away flake after flake.
One night you dreamed you were a mermaid clinging to a wharf-pile, and trying to pull off the barnacles with your hands.
We wished our two souls might return like gulls to the rock.
In the end, the water was too cold for us.


by Robert Lowell | |

Dolphin

 My Dolphin, you only guide me by surprise,
a captive as Racine, the man of craft,
drawn through his maze of iron composition
by the incomparable wandering voice of Ph?dre.
When I was troubled in mind, you made for my body caught in its hangman's-knot of sinking lines, the glassy bowing and scraping of my will.
.
.
.
I have sat and listened to too many words of the collaborating muse, and plotted perhaps too freely with my life, not avoiding injury to others, not avoiding injury to myself-- to ask compassion .
.
.
this book, half fiction, an eelnet made by man for the eel fighting my eyes have seen what my hand did.