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Best Famous Charles Simic Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous Charles Simic poems. This is a select list of the best famous Charles Simic poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous Charles Simic poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of Charles Simic poems.

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by Charles Simic | |

Hotel Insomnia

 I liked my little hole,
Its window facing a brick wall.
Next door there was a piano.
A few evenings a month a crippled old man came to play "My Blue Heaven.
" Mostly, though, it was quiet.
Each room with its spider in heavy overcoat Catching his fly with a web Of cigarette smoke and revery.
So dark, I could not see my face in the shaving mirror.
At 5 A.
the sound of bare feet upstairs.
The "Gypsy" fortuneteller, Whose storefront is on the corner, Going to pee after a night of love.
Once, too, the sound of a child sobbing.
So near it was, I thought For a moment, I was sobbing myself.

by Charles Simic | |

Private Eye

 To find clues where there are none,
That's my job now, I said to the
Dictionary on my desk.
The world beyond My window has grown illegible, And so has the clock on the wall.
I may strike a match to orient myself In the meantime, there's the heart Stopping hush as the building Empties, the elevators stop running, The grains of dust stay put.
Hours of quiescent sleuthing Before the Madonna with the mop Shuffles down the long corridor Trying doorknobs, turning mine.
That's just little old me sweating In the customer's chair, I'll say.
Keep your nose out of it.
I'm not closing up till he breaks.

by Charles Simic | |

Country Fair

 for Hayden Carruth

If you didn't see the six-legged dog,
It doesn't matter.
We did, and he mostly lay in the corner.
As for the extra legs, One got used to them quickly And thought of other things.
Like, what a cold, dark night To be out at the fair.
Then the keeper threw a stick And the dog went after it On four legs, the other two flapping behind, Which made one girl shriek with laughter.
She was drunk and so was the man Who kept kissing her neck.
The dog got the stick and looked back at us.
And that was the whole show.

More great poems below...

by Charles Simic | |

Poem Without A Title

 I say to the lead
Why did you let yourself
Be cast into a bullet?
Have you forgotten the alchemists?
Have you given up hope
In turning into gold?

Nobody answers.
With names Such as these The sleep is deep and long.

by Charles Simic | |

The Supreme Moment

 As an ant is powerless 
Against a raised boot, 
And only has an instant 
To have a bright idea or two.
The black boot so polished, He can see himself Reflected in it, distorted, Perhaps made larger Into a huge monster ant Shaking his arms and legs Threateningly? The boot may be hesitating, Demurring, having misgivings, Gathering cobwebs, Dew? Yes, and apparently no.

by Charles Simic | |

Clouds Gathering

 It seemed the kind of life we wanted.
Wild strawberries and cream in the morning.
Sunlight in every room.
The two of us walking by the sea naked.
Some evenings, however, we found ourselves Unsure of what comes next.
Like tragic actors in a theater on fire, With birds circling over our heads, The dark pines strangely still, Each rock we stepped on bloodied by the sunset.
We were back on our terrace sipping wine.
Why always this hint of an unhappy ending? Clouds of almost human appearance Gathering on the horizon, but the rest lovely With the air so mild and the sea untroubled.
The night suddenly upon us, a starless night.
You lighting a candle, carrying it naked Into our bedroom and blowing it out quickly.
The dark pines and grasses strangely still.

by Charles Simic | |

The Partial Explanation

 Seems like a long time
Since the waiter took my order.
Grimy little luncheonette, The snow falling outside.
Seems like it has grown darker Since I last heard the kitchen door Behind my back Since I last noticed Anyone pass on the street.
A glass of ice-water Keeps me company At this table I chose myself Upon entering.
And a longing, Incredible longing To eavesdrop On the conversation Of cooks.

by Charles Simic | |

Wherein Obscurely

 On the road with billowing poplars,
In a country flat and desolate
To the far-off gray horizon, wherein obscurely,
A man and a woman went on foot,

Each carrying a small suitcase.
They were tired and had taken off Their shoes and were walking on Their toes, staring straight ahead.
Every time a car passed fast, As they're wont to on such a stretch of Road, empty as the crow flies, How quickly they were gone-- The cars, I mean, and then the drizzle That brought on the early evening, Little by little, and hardly a light Anywhere, and then not even that.

by Charles Simic | |

Eyes Fastened With Pins

 How much death works,
No one knows what a long
Day he puts in.
The little Wife always alone Ironing death's laundry.
The beautiful daughters Setting death's supper table.
The neighbors playing Pinochle in the backyard Or just sitting on the steps Drinking beer.
Death, Meanwhile, in a strange Part of town looking for Someone with a bad cough, But the address somehow wrong, Even death can't figure it out Among all the locked doors.
And the rain beginning to fall.
Long windy night ahead.
Death with not even a newspaper To cover his head, not even A dime to call the one pining away, Undressing slowly, sleepily, And stretching naked On death's side of the bed.

by Charles Simic | |

Heights Of Folly

 O crows circling over my head and cawing!
I admit to being, at times,
Suddenly, and without the slightest warning,
Exceedingly happy.
On a morning otherwise sunless, Strolling arm in arm Past some gallows-shaped trees With my dear Helen, Who is also a strange bird, With a feeling of being summoned Urgently, but by a most gracious invitation To breakfast on slices of watermelon In the company of naked gods and goddesses On a patch of last night's snow.

by Charles Simic | |

Talking To Little Birdies

 Not a peep out of you now
After the bedlam early this morning.
Are you begging pardon of me Hidden up there among the leaves, Or are your brains momentarily overtaxed? You savvy a few things I don't: The overlooked sunflower seed worth a holler; The traffic of cats in the yard; Strangers leaving the widow's house, Tieless and wearing crooked grins.
Or have you got wind of the world's news? Some new horror I haven't heard about yet? Which one of you was so bold as to warn me, Our sweet setup is in danger? Kids are playing soldiers down the road, Pointing their rifles and playing dead.
Little birdies, are you sneaking wary looks In the thick foliage as you hear me say this?

by Charles Simic | |

The Wooden Toy


The brightly-painted horse
Had a boy's face,
And four small wheels
Under his feet,

Plus a long string
To pull him by this way and that
Across the floor,
Should you care to.
A string in-waiting That slipped away In many wiles From each and every try.
2 Knock and they'll answer, Mother told me.
So I climbed four flights of stairs And went in unannounced.
And found a small wooden toy For the taking In the ensuing emptiness And the fading daylight That still gives me a shudder As if I held the key to mysteries in my hand.
3 Where's the Lost and Found Department, And the quiet entry, The undeveloped film Of the few clear moments Of our blurred lives? Where's the drop of blood And the teeny nail That pricked my finger As I bent down to touch the toy And caught its eye? 4 Evening light, Make me a Sunday Go-to meeting shadow For my toy.
My dearest memories are Steep stair-wells In dusty buildings On dead-end streets, Where I talk to the walls And closed doors As if they understood me.
5 The wooden toy sitting pretty.
No, quieter than that.
Like the sound of eyebrows Raised by a villain In a silent movie.
Psst, someone said behind my back.
------------------------------------ Poetry Volume CLXXI, Number 1 Eighty-Fifth Anniversary Special Double Issue October-November 1997

by Charles Simic | |

Against Winter

 The truth is dark under your eyelids.
What are you going to do about it? The birds are silent; there's no one to ask.
All day long you'll squint at the gray sky.
When the wind blows you'll shiver like straw.
A meek little lamb you grew your wool Till they came after you with huge shears.
Flies hovered over open mouth, Then they, too, flew off like the leaves, The bare branches reached after them in vain.
Winter coming.
Like the last heroic soldier Of a defeated army, you'll stay at your post, Head bared to the first snow flake.
Till a neighbor comes to yell at you, You're crazier than the weather, Charlie.

by Charles Simic | |

Summer In The Country

 One shows me how to lie down in a field of clover.
Another how to slip my hand under her Sunday skirt.
Another how to kiss with a mouth full of blackberries.
Another how to catch fireflies in jar after dark.
Here is a stable with a single black mare And the proof of God's existence riding in a red nightgown.
Devil's child--or whatever she was? Having the nerve to ask me to go get her a whip.

by Charles Simic | |

Read Your Fate

 A world's disappearing.
Little street, You were too narrow, Too much in the shade already.
You had only one dog, One lone child.
You hid your biggest mirror, Your undressed lovers.
Someone carted them off In an open truck.
They were still naked, travelling On their sofa Over a darkening plain, Some unknown Kansas or Nebraska With a storm brewing.
The woman opening a red umbrella In the truck.
The boy And the dog running after them, As if after a rooster With its head chopped off.

by Charles Simic | |

Mummys Curse

 Befriending an eccentric young woman
The sole resident of a secluded Victorian mansion.
She takes long walks in the evening rain, And so do I, with my hair full of dead leaves.
In her former life, she was an opera singer.
She remembers the rich Neapolitan pastries, Points to a bit of fresh whipped cream Still left in the corner of her lower lip, Tells me she dragged a wooden cross once Through a leper town somewhere in India.
I was born in Copenhagen, I confide in turn.
My father was a successful mortician.
My mother never lifted her nose out of a book.
Arthur Schopenhauer ruined our happy home.
Since then, a day doesn't go by without me Sticking a loaded revolved inside my mouth.
She had walked ahead of me and had turned Like a lion tamer, towering with a whip in hand.
Luckily, in that moment, the mummy sped by On a bicycle carrying someone's pizza order And cursing the mist and the potholes.

by Charles Simic | |


 Green Buddhas
On the fruit stand.
We eat the smile And spit out the teeth.

by Charles Simic | |

The Oldest Child

 The night still frightens you.
You know it is interminable And of vast, unimaginable dimensions.
"That's because His insomnia is permanent," You've read some mystic say.
Is it the point of His schoolboy's compass That pricks your heart? Somewhere perhaps the lovers lie Under the dark cypress trees, Trembling with happiness, But here there's only your beard of many days And a night moth shivering Under your hand pressed against your chest.
Oldest child, Prometheus Of some cold, cold fire you can't even name For which you're serving slow time With that night moth's terror for company.

by Charles Simic | |


 Where it says snow 
read teeth-marks of a virgin 
Where it says knife read 
you passed through my bones 
like a police-whistle 
Where it says table read horse 
Where it says horse read my migrant's bundle 
Apples are to remain apples 
Each time a hat appears 
think of Isaac Newton 
reading the Old Testament 
Remove all periods 
They are scars made by words 
I couldn't bring myself to say 
Put a finger over each sunrise 
it will blind you otherwise 
That damn ant is still stirring 
Will there be time left to list 
all errors to replace 
all hands guns owls plates 
all cigars ponds woods and reach 
that beer-bottle my greatest mistake 
the word I allowed to be written 
when I should have shouted 
her name

by Charles Simic | |

The School Of Metaphysics

 Executioner happy to explain
How his wristwatch works
As he shadows me on the street.
I call him that because he is grim and officious And wears black.
The clock on the church tower Had stopped at five to eleven.
The morning newspapers had no date.
The gray building on the corner Could've been a state pen, And then he showed up with his watch, Whose Gothic numerals And the absence of hands He wanted me to understand Right then and there.

by Charles Simic | |

This Morning

 Enter without knocking, hard-working ant.
I'm just sitting here mulling over What to do this dark, overcast day? It was a night of the radio turned down low, Fitful sleep, vague, troubling dreams.
I woke up lovesick and confused.
I thought I heard Estella in the garden singing And some bird answering her, But it was the rain.
Dark tree tops swaying And whispering.
"Come to me my desire," I said.
And she came to me by and by, Her breath smelling of mint, her tongue Wetting my cheek, and then she vanished.
Slowly day came, a gray streak of daylight To bathe my hands and face in.
Hours passed, and then you crawled Under the door, and stopped before me.
You visit the same tailors the mourners do, Mr.
I like the silence between us, The quiet--that holy state even the rain Knows about.
Listen to her begin to fall, As if with eyes closed, Muting each drop in her wild-beating heart.

by Charles Simic | |

The Something

 Here come my night thoughts
On crutches,
Returning from studying the heavens.
What they thought about Stayed the same, Stayed immense and incomprehensible.
My mother and father smile at each other Knowingly above the mantel.
The cat sleeps on, the dog Growls in his sleep.
The stove is cold and so is the bed.
Now there are only these crutches To contend with.
Go ahead and laugh, while I raise one With difficulty, Swaying on the front porch, While pointing at something In the gray distance.
You see nothing, eh? Neither do I, Mr.
I better hit you once or twice over the head With this fine old prop, So you don't go off muttering I saw something!

by Charles Simic | |

Paradise Motel

 Millions were dead; everybody was innocent.
I stayed in my room.
The President Spoke of war as of a magic love potion.
My eyes were opened in astonishment.
In a mirror my face appeared to me Like a twice-canceled postage stamp.
I lived well, but life was awful.
there were so many soldiers that day, So many refugees crowding the roads.
Naturally, they all vanished With a touch of the hand.
History licked the corners of its bloody mouth.
On the pay channel, a man and a woman Were trading hungry kisses and tearing off Each other's clothes while I looked on With the sound off and the room dark Except for the screen where the color Had too much red in it, too much pink.

by Charles Simic | |

A Book Full of Pictures

 Father studied theology through the mail
And this was exam time.
Mother knitted.
I sat quietly with a book Full of pictures.
Night fell.
My hands grew cold touching the faces Of dead kings and queens.
There was a black raincoat in the upstairs bedroom Swaying from the ceiling, But what was it doing there? Mother's long needles made quick crosses.
They were black Like the inside of my head just then.
The pages I turned sounded like wings.
"The soul is a bird," he once said.
In my book full of pictures A battle raged: lances and swords Made a kind of wintry forest With my heart spiked and bleeding in its branches.

by Charles Simic | |

The White Room

 The obvious is difficult
To prove.
Many prefer The hidden.
I did, too.
I listened to the trees.
They had a secret Which they were about to Make known to me-- And then didn't.
Summer came.
Each tree On my street had its own Scheherazade.
My nights Were a part of their wild Storytelling.
We were Entering dark houses, Always more dark houses, Hushed and abandoned.
There was someone with eyes closed On the upper floors.
The fear of it, and the wonder, Kept me sleepless.
The truth is bald and cold, Said the woman Who always wore white.
She didn't leave her room.
The sun pointed to one or two Things that had survived The long night intact.
The simplest things, Difficult in their obviousness.
They made no noise.
It was the kind of day People described as "perfect.
" Gods disguising themselves As black hairpins, a hand-mirror, A comb with a tooth missing? No! That wasn't it.
Just things as they are, Unblinking, lying mute In that bright light-- And the trees waiting for the night.