Submit Your Poems
Get Your Premium Membership

Best Famous Jack Gilbert Poems

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

Search for the best famous Jack Gilbert poems, articles about Jack Gilbert poems, poetry blogs, or anything else Jack Gilbert poem related using the PoetrySoup search engine at the top of the page.

See also: Best Member Poems

by Jack Gilbert | |

Poetry Is A Kind Of Lying

 Poetry is a kind of lying,
To profit the poet or beauty.
But also in that truth may be told only so.
Those who, admirably, refuse to falsify (as those who will not risk pretensions) are excluded from saying even so much.
Degas said he didn't paint what he saw, but what would enable them to see the thing he had.

by Jack Gilbert | |


 Woke up suddenly thinking I heard crying.
Rushed through the dark house.
Stopped, remembering.
Stood looking out at bright moonlight on concrete.

by Jack Gilbert | |

In Umbria

 Once upon a time I was sitting outside the cafe
watching twilight in Umbria when a girl came
out of the bakery with the bread her mother wanted.
She did not know what to do.
Already bewildered by being thirteen and just that summer a woman, she now had to walk past the American.
But she did fine.
Went by and around the corner with style, not noticing me.
Almost perfect.
At the last instant could not resist darting a look down at her new breasts.
Often I go back to that dip of her head when people talk about this one or that one of the great beauties.

by Jack Gilbert | |


 Suddenly this defeat.
This rain.
The blues gone gray And the browns gone gray And yellow A terrible amber.
In the cold streets Your warm body.
In whatever room Your warm body.
Among all the people Your absence The people who are always Not you.
I have been easy with trees Too long.
Too familiar with mountains.
Joy has been a habit.
Now Suddenly This rain.

by Jack Gilbert | |

Tear It Down

 We find out the heart only by dismantling what 
the heart knows.
By redefining the morning, we find a morning that comes just after darkness.
We can break through marriage into marriage.
By insisting on love we spoil it, get beyond affection and wade mouth-deep into love.
We must unlearn the constellations to see the stars.
But going back toward childhood will not help.
The village is not better than Pittsburgh.
Only Pittsburgh is more than Pittsburgh.
Rome is better than Rome in the same way the sound of raccoon tongues licking the inside walls of the garbage tub is more than the stir of them in the muck of the garbage.
Love is not enough.
We die and are put into the earth forever.
We should insist while there is still time.
We must eat through the wildness of her sweet body already in our bed to reach the body within that body.

by Jack Gilbert | |

In Dispraise Of Poetry

 When the King of Siam disliked a courtier, 
he gave him a beautiful white elephant.
The miracle beast deserved such ritual that to care for him properly meant ruin.
Yet to care for him improperly was worse.
It appears the gift could not be refused.

by Jack Gilbert | |

Recovering Amid The Farms

 Every morning the sad girl brings her three sheep 
and two lambs laggardly to the top of the valley, 
past my stone hut and onto the mountain to graze.
She turned twelve last year and it was legal for the father to take her out of school.
She knows her life is over.
The sadness makes her fine, makes me happy.
Her old red sweater makes the whole valley ring, makes my solitude gleam.
I watch from hiding for her sake.
Knowing I am there is hard on her, but it is the focus of her days.
She always looks down or looks away as she passes in the evening.
Except sometimes when, just before going out of sight behind the distant canebrake, she looks quickly back.
It is too far for me to see, but there is a moment of white if she turns her face.

by Jack Gilbert | |

Portrait Number Five: Against A New York Summer

 I'd walk her home after work
buying roses and talking of Bechsteins.
She was full of soul.
Her small room was gorged with heat and there were no windows.
She'd take off everything but her pants and take the pins from her hair throwing them on the floor with a great noise.
Like Crete.
We wouldn't make love.
She'd get on the bed with those nipples and we'd lie sweating and talking of my best friend.
They were in love.
When I got quiet she'd put on usually Debussy and leaning down to the small ribs bite me.