Submit Your Poems
Get Your Premium Membership

Best Famous Raymond Carver Poems

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

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

See also: Best Member Poems

Go Back

by Raymond Carver |

Bobber

 On the Columbia River near Vantage, 
Washington, we fished for whitefish 
in the winter months; my dad, Swede- 
Mr. Lindgren-and me. They used belly-reels, 
pencil-length sinkers, red, yellow, or brown 
flies baited with maggots. 
They wanted distance and went clear out there 
to the edge of the riffle. 
I fished near shore with a quill bobber and a cane pole. 

My dad kept his maggots alive and warm 
under his lower lip. Mr. Lindgren didn't drink. 
I liked him better than my dad for a time. 
He lets me steer his car, teased me 
about my name "Junior," and said 
one day I'd grow into a fine man, remember 
all this, and fish with my own son. 
But my dad was right. I mean 
he kept silent and looked into the river, 
worked his tongue, like a thought, behind the bait.


by Raymond Carver |

An Afternoon

 As he writes, without looking at the sea,
he feels the tip of his pen begin to tremble.
The tide is going out across the shingle.
But it isn't that. No,
it's because at that moment she chooses
to walk into the room without any clothes on.
Drowsy, not even sure where she is
for a moment. She waves the hair from her forehead.
Sits on the toilet with her eyes closed,
head down. Legs sprawled. He sees her
through the doorway. Maybe
she's remembering what happened that morning.
For after a time, she opens one eye and looks at him.
And sweetly smiles.


by Raymond Carver |

What The Doctor Said

 He said it doesn't look good
he said it looks bad in fact real bad
he said I counted thirty-two of them on one lung before
I quit counting them
I said I'm glad I wouldn't want to know
about any more being there than that
he said are you a religious man do you kneel down
in forest groves and let yourself ask for help
when you come to a waterfall
mist blowing against your face and arms
do you stop and ask for understanding at those moments
I said not yet but I intend to start today
he said I'm real sorry he said
I wish I had some other kind of news to give you
I said Amen and he said something else
I didn't catch and not knowing what else to do
and not wanting him to have to repeat it
and me to have to fully digest it
I just looked at him
for a minute and he looked back it was then
I jumped up and shook hands with this man who'd just given me
something no one else on earth had ever given me
I may have even thanked him habit being so strong


by Raymond Carver |

This Morning

 This morning was something. A little snow
lay on the ground. The sun floated in a clear
blue sky. The sea was blue, and blue-green,
as far as the eye could see.
Scarcely a ripple. Calm. I dressed and went
for a walk -- determined not to return
until I took in what Nature had to offer.
I passed close to some old, bent-over trees.
Crossed a field strewn with rocks
where snow had drifted. Kept going
until I reached the bluff.
Where I gazed at the sea, and the sky, and
the gulls wheeling over the white beach
far below. All lovely. All bathed in a pure
cold light. But, as usual, my thoughts
began to wander. I had to will
myself to see what I was seeing
and nothing else. I had to tell myself this is what
mattered, not the other. (And I did see it,
for a minute or two!) For a minute or two
it crowded out the usual musings on
what was right, and what was wrong -- duty,
tender memories, thoughts of death, how I should treat
with my former wife. All the things
I hoped would go away this morning.
The stuff I live with every day. What
I've trampled on in order to stay alive.
But for a minute or two I did forget
myself and everything else. I know I did.
For when I turned back i didn't know
where I was. Until some birds rose up
from the gnarled trees. And flew
in the direction I needed to be going.


by Raymond Carver |

Photograph of My Father in His Twenty-Second Year

 October. Here in this dank, unfamiliar kitchen 
I study my father's embarrassed young man's face. 
Sheepish grin, he holds in one hand a string 
of spiny yellow perch, in the other 
a bottle of Carlsbad Beer. 

In jeans and denim shirt, he leans 
against the front fender of a 1934 Ford. 
He would like to pose bluff and hearty for his posterity, 
Wear his old hat cocked over his ear. 
All his life my father wanted to be bold. 

But the eyes give him away, and the hands 
that limply offer the string of dead perch 
and the bottle of beer. Father, I love you, 
yet how can I say thank you, I who can't hold my liquor either, 
and don't even know the places to fish?


by Raymond Carver |

Late Fragment

 And did you get what
you wanted from this life, even so?
I did.
And what did you want?
To call myself beloved, to feel myself
beloved on the earth.


by Raymond Carver |

Fear

 Fear of seeing a police car pull into the drive.
Fear of falling asleep at night.
Fear of not falling asleep.
Fear of the past rising up.
Fear of the present taking flight.
Fear of the telephone that rings in the dead of night.
Fear of electrical storms.
Fear of the cleaning woman who has a spot on her cheek!
Fear of dogs I've been told won't bite.
Fear of anxiety!
Fear of having to identify the body of a dead friend.
Fear of running out of money.
Fear of having too much, though people will not believe this.
Fear of psychological profiles.
Fear of being late and fear of arriving before anyone else.
Fear of my children's handwriting on envelopes.
Fear they'll die before I do, and I'll feel guilty.
Fear of having to live with my mother in her old age, and mine.
Fear of confusion.
Fear this day will end on an unhappy note.
Fear of waking up to find you gone.
Fear of not loving and fear of not loving enough.
Fear that what I love will prove lethal to those I love.
Fear of death.
Fear of living too long.
Fear of death.

I've said that.


by Raymond Carver |

Drinking While Driving

 It's August and I have not 
Read a book in six months 
except something called The Retreat from Moscow
by Caulaincourt 
Nevertheless, I am happy 
Riding in a car with my brother 
and drinking from a pint of Old Crow. 
We do not have any place in mind to go, 
we are just driving. 
If I closed my eyes for a minute 
I would be lost, yet 
I could gladly lie down and sleep forever 
beside this road 
My brother nudges me. 
Any minute now, something will happen.


by Raymond Carver |

Happiness

 So early it's still almost dark out.
I'm near the window with coffee,
and the usual early morning stuff
that passes for thought.

When I see the boy and his friend
walking up the road
to deliver the newspaper.

They wear caps and sweaters,
and one boy has a bag over his shoulder.
They are so happy
they aren't saying anything, these boys.

I think if they could, they would take
each other's arm.
It's early in the morning,
and they are doing this thing together.

They come on, slowly.
The sky is taking on light,
though the moon still hangs pale over the water.

Such beauty that for a minute
death and ambition, even love,
doesn't enter into this.

Happiness. It comes on
unexpectedly. And goes beyond, really,
any early morning talk about it.


by Raymond Carver |

The Current

 These fish have no eyes 
these silver fish that come to me in dreams, 
scattering their roe and milt 
in the pockets of my brain.

But there's one that comes-- 
heavy, scarred, silent like the rest, 
that simply holds against the current,

closing its dark mouth against 
the current, closing and opening 
as it holds to the current.