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Best Famous Galway Kinnell Poems

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

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Written by Rainer Maria Rilke | Create an image from this poem

Autumn Day

 Four Translations

Lord: it is time.
The summer was immense.
Lay your shadow on the sundials and let loose the wind in the fields.
Bid the last fruits to be full; give them another two more southerly days, press them to ripeness, and chase the last sweetness into the heavy wine.
Whoever has no house now will not build one anymore.
Whoever is alone now will remain so for a long time, will stay up, read, write long letters, and wander the avenues, up and down, restlessly, while the leaves are blowing.
Translated by Galway Kinnell and Hannah Liebmann, "The Essential Rilke" (Ecco) Lord, it is time.
The summer was too long.
Lay your shadow on the sundials now, and through the meadow let the winds throng.
Ask the last fruits to ripen on the vine; give them further two more summer days to bring about perfection and to raise the final sweetness in the heavy wine.
Whoever has no house now will establish none, whoever lives alone now will live on long alone, will waken, read, and write long letters, wander up and down the barren paths the parks expose when the leaves are blown.
Translated by William Gass, "Reading Rilke: Reflections on the Problem of Translation" (Knopf) Lord: it is time.
The huge summer has gone by.
Now overlap the sundials with your shadows, and on the meadows let the wind go free.
Command the fruits to swell on tree and vine; grant them a few more warm transparent days, urge them on to fulfillment then, and press the final sweetness into the heavy wine.
Whoever has no house now, will never have one.
Whoever is alone will stay alone, will sit, read, write long letters through the evening, and wander the boulevards, up and down, restlessly, while the dry leaves are blowing.
Translated by Stephen Mitchell, "The Selected Poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke" (Random House) Lord, it is time now, for the summer has gone on and gone on.
Lay your shadow along the sun- dials and in the field let the great wind blow free.
Command the last fruit be ripe: let it bow down the vine -- with perhaps two sun-warm days more to force the last sweetness in the heavy wine.
He who has no home will not build one now.
He who is alone will stay long alone, will wake up, read, write long letters, and walk in the streets, walk by in the streets when the leaves blow.
Translated by John Logan, "Homage to Rainer Maria Rilke," (BOA Editions) Original German Herbsttag Herr: es ist Zeit.
Der Sommer war sehr gross.
Leg deinen Schatten auf die Sonnenuhren, und auf den Fluren lass die Winde los.
Befiehl den letzten Fruchten voll zu sein; gieb innen noch zwei sudlichere Tage, drange sie zur Vollendung hin und jage die letzte Susse in den schweren Wein.
Wer jetzt kein Haus hat, baut sich keines mehr.
Wer jetzt allein ist, wird es lange bleiben, wird wachen, lesen, lange Briefe schreiben und wird in den Alleen hin und her unruhig wandern, wenn die Blatter treiben.
-- Rainer Maria Rilke, Paris, Sept.
21, 1902
Written by Galway Kinnell | Create an image from this poem

from Flying Home

3 
As this plane dragged 
its track of used ozone half the world long 
thrusts some four hundred of us 
toward places where actual known people 
live and may wait, 
we diminish down in our seats, 
disappeared into novels of lives clearer than ours, 
and yet we do not forget for a moment 
the life down there, the doorway each will soon enter: 
where I will meet her again 
and know her again, 
dark radiance with, and then mostly without, the stars.
Very likely she has always understood what I have slowly learned, and which only now, after being away, almost as far away as one can get on this globe, almost as far as thoughts can carry - yet still in her presence, still surrounded not so much by reminders of her as by things she had already reminded me of, shadows of her cast forward and waiting - can I try to express: that love is hard, that while many good things are easy, true love is not, because love is first of all a power, its own power, which continually must make its way forward, from night into day, from transcending union always forward into difficult day.
And as the plane descends, it comes to me in the space where tears stream down across the stars, tears fallen on the actual earth where their shining is what we call spirit, that once the lover recognizes the other, knows for the first time what is most to be valued in another, from then on, love is very much like courage, perhaps it is courage, and even perhaps only courage.
Squashed out of old selves, smearing the darkness of expectation across experience, all of us little thinkers it brings home having similar thoughts of landing to the imponderable world, the transoceanic airliner, resting its huge weight down, comes in almost lightly, to where with sudden, tiny, white puffs and long, black, rubberish smears all its tires know the home ground.
Written by Galway Kinnell | Create an image from this poem

Oatmeal

 I eat oatmeal for breakfast.
I make it on the hot plate and put skimmed milk on it.
I eat it alone.
I am aware it is not good to eat oatmeal alone.
Its consistency is such that is better for your mental health if somebody eats it with you.
That is why I often think up an imaginary companion to have breakfast with.
Possibly it is even worse to eat oatmeal with an imaginary companion.
Nevertheless, yesterday morning, I ate my oatmeal porridge, as he called it with John Keats.
Keats said I was absolutely right to invite him: due to its glutinous texture, gluey lumpishness, hint of slime, and unsual willingness to disintigrate, oatmeal should not be eaten alone.
He said that in his opinion, however, it is perfectly OK to eat it with an imaginary companion, and that he himself had enjoyed memorable porridges with Edmund Spenser and John Milton.
Even if eating oatmeal with an imaginary companion is not as wholesome as Keats claims, still, you can learn something from it.
Yesterday morning, for instance, Keats told me about writing the "Ode to a Nightingale.
" He had a heck of a time finishing it those were his words "Oi 'ad a 'eck of a toime," he said, more or less, speaking through his porridge.
He wrote it quickly, on scraps of paper, which he then stuck in his pocket, but when he got home he couldn't figure out the order of the stanzas, and he and a friend spread the papers on a table, and they made some sense of them, but he isn't sure to this day if they got it right.
An entire stanza may have slipped into the lining of his jacket through a hole in his pocket.
He still wonders about the occasional sense of drift between stanzas, and the way here and there a line will go into the configuration of a Moslem at prayer, then raise itself up and peer about, and then lay itself down slightly off the mark, causing the poem to move forward with a reckless, shining wobble.
He said someone told him that later in life Wordsworth heard about the scraps of paper on the table, and tried shuffling some stanzas of his own, but only made matters worse.
I would not have known any of this but for my reluctance to eat oatmeal alone.
When breakfast was over, John recited "To Autumn.
" He recited it slowly, with much feeling, and he articulated the words lovingly, and his odd accent sounded sweet.
He didn't offer the story of writing "To Autumn," I doubt if there is much of one.
But he did say the sight of a just-harvested oat field go thim started on it, and two of the lines, "For Summer has o'er-brimmed their clammy cells" and "Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours," came to him while eating oatmeal alone.
I can see him drawing a spoon through the stuff, gazing into the glimmering furrows, muttering.
Maybe there is no sublime; only the shining of the amnion's tatters.
For supper tonight I am going to have a baked potato left over from lunch.
I am aware that a leftover baked potato is damp, slippery, and simultaneaously gummy and crumbly, and therefore I'm going to invite Patrick Kavanagh to join me.
Written by Galway Kinnell | Create an image from this poem

Blackberry Eating

I love to go out in late September 
among the fat, overripe, icy black blackberries 
to eat blackberries for breakfast, 
the stalks are very prickly, a penalty 
they earn for knowing the black art 
of blackberry-making; and as I stand among them 
lifting the stalks to my mouth, the ripest berries 
fall almost unbidden to my tongue, 
as words sometimes do, certain peculiar words 
like strengths or squinched, 
many-lettered, one-syllabled lumps 
which I squeeze, squinch open, and splurge well 
in the silent, startled, icy, black language 
of blackberry-eating in late September.
Written by Galway Kinnell | Create an image from this poem

On Frozen Fields

1 
We walk across the snow, 
The stars can be faint, 
The moon can be eating itself out, 
There can be meteors flaring to death on earth, 
The Northern Lights can be blooming and seething 
And tearing themselves apart all night, 
We walk arm in arm, and we are happy.
2 You in whose ultimate madness we live, You flinging yourself out into the emptiness, You - like us - great an instant, O only universe we know, forgive us.
Written by Galway Kinnell | Create an image from this poem

The Perch

There is a fork in a branch
of an ancient, enormous maple,
one of a grove of such trees,
where I climb sometimes and sit and look out
over miles of valleys and low hills.
Today on skis I took a friend to show her the trees.
We set out down the road, turned in at the lane which a few weeks ago, when the trees were almost empty and the November snows had not yet come, lay thickly covered in bright red and yellow leaves, crossed the swamp, passed the cellar hole holding the remains of the 1850s farmhouse that had slid down into it by stages in the thirties and forties, followed the overgrown logging road and came to the trees.
I climbed up to the perch, and this time looked not into the distance but at the tree itself, its trunk contorted by the terrible struggle of that time when it had its hard time.
After the trauma it grows less solid.
It may be some such time now comes upon me.
It would have to do with the unaccomplished, and with the attempted marriage of solitude and happiness.
Then a rifle sounded, several times, quite loud, from across the valley, percussions of the custom of male mastery over the earth ¡ª the most graceful, most alert of the animals being chosen to die.
I looked to see if my friend had heard, but she was stepping about on her skis, studying the trees, smiling to herself, her lips still filled, for all we had drained them, with hundreds and thousands of kisses.
Just then she looked up ¡ª the way, from low to high, the god blesses ¡ª and the blue of her eyes shone out of the black and white of bark and snow, as lovers who are walking on a freezing day touch icy cheek to icy cheek, kiss, then shudder to discover the heat waiting inside their mouths.
Written by W S Merwin | Create an image from this poem

We continue

For Galway Kinnell


The rust a little pile of western color lies
At the end of its travels 
Our instrument no longer.
Those who believe In death have their worship cut out for them.
As for myself we Continue An old Scar of light our trumpet Pilgrims with thorns To the eye of the cold Under flags made by the blind In one fist Their letter that vanishes If the hand opens: Charity come home Begin.
Written by Galway Kinnell | Create an image from this poem

Fergus Falling

He climbed to the top
of one of those million white pines
set out across the emptying pastures
of the fifties - some program to enrich the rich
and rebuke the forefathers
who cleared it all at once with ox and axe - 
climbed to the top, probably to get out
of the shadow
not of those forefathers but of this father
and saw for the first time
down in its valley, Bruce Pond, giving off
its little steam in the afternoon,

pond where Clarence Akley came on Sunday mornings to cut
down
the cedars around the shore, I'd sometimes hear the slow
spondees
of his work, he's gone,
where Milton Norway came up behind me while I was 
fishing and
stood awhile before I knew he was there, he's the one who
put the
cedar shingles on the house, some have curled or split, a 
few have
blown off, he's gone,
where Gus Newland logged in the cold snap of '58, the only
man will-
ing to go into those woods that never got warmer than ten
below,
he's gone,
pond where two wards of the state wandered on Halloween, 
the Na-
tional Guard searched for them in November, in vain, the 
next fall a 
hunter found their skeletons huddled together, in vain, 
they're 
gone,
pond where an old fisherman in a rowboat sits, drowning
hooked
worms, when he goes he's replaced and is never gone,

and when Fergus
saw the pond for the first time
in the clear evening, saw its oldness down there
in its old place in the valley, he became heavier suddenly
in his bones
the way fledglings do just before they fly,
and the soft pine cracked .
.
.
I would not have heard his cry if my electric saw had been working, its carbide teeth speeding through the bland spruce of our time, or burning black arcs into some scavenged hemlock plank, like dark circles under eyes when the brain thinks too close to the skin, but I was sawing by hand and I heard that cry as though he were attacked; we ran out, when we bent over him he said, "Galway, In¨¦s, I saw a pond!" His face went gray, his eyes fluttered close a frightening moment .
.
.
Yes - a pond that lets off its mist on clear afternoons of August, in that valley to which many have come, for their reasons, from which many have gone, a few for their reasons, most not, where even now and old fisherman only the pinetops can see sits in the dry gray wood of his rowboat, waiting for pickerel.
Written by Galway Kinnell | Create an image from this poem

The Bear

1
In late winter 
I sometimes glimpse bits of steam
coming up from
some fault in the old snow 
and bend close and see it is lung-colored 
and put down my nose
and know
the chilly, enduring odor of bear.
2 I take a wolf's rib and whittle it sharp at both ends and coil it up and freeze it in blubber and place it out on the fairway of the bears.
And when it has vanished I move out on the bear tracks, roaming in circles until I come to the first, tentative, dark splash on the earth.
And I set out running, following the splashes of blood wandering over the world.
At the cut, gashed resting places I stop and rest, at the crawl-marks where he lay out on his belly to overpass some stretch of bauchy ice I lie out dragging myself forward with bear-knives in my fists.
3 On the third day I begin to starve, at nightfall I bend down as I knew I would at a turd sopped in blood, and hesitate, and pick it up, and thrust it in my mouth, and gnash it down, and rise and go on running.
4 On the seventh day, living by now on bear blood alone, I can see his upturned carcass far out ahead, a scraggled, steamy hulk, the heavy fur riffling in the wind.
I come up to him and stare at the narrow-spaced, petty eyes, the dismayed face laid back on the shoulder, the nostrils flared, catching perhaps the first taint of me as he died.
I hack a ravine in his thigh, and eat and drink, and tear him down his whole length and open him and climb in and close him up after me, against the wind, and sleep.
5 And dream of lumbering flatfooted over the tundra, stabbed twice from within, splattering a trail behind me, splattering it out no matter which way I lurch, no matter which parabola of bear-transcendence, which dance of solitude I attempt, which gravity-clutched leap, which trudge, which groan.
6 Until one day I totter and fall -- fall on this stomach that has tried so hard to keep up, to digest the blood as it leaked in, to break up and digest the bone itself: and now the breeze blows over me, blows off the hideous belches of ill-digested bear blood and rotted stomach and the ordinary, wretched odor of bear, blows across my sore, lolled tongue a song or screech, until I think I must rise up and dance.
And I lie still.
7 I awaken I think.
Marshlights reappear, geese come trailing again up the flyway.
In her ravine under old snow the dam-bear lies, licking lumps of smeared fur and drizzly eyes into shapes with her tongue.
And one hairy-soled trudge stuck out before me, the next groaned out, the next, the next, the rest of my days I spend wandering: wondering what, anyway, was that sticky infusion, that rank flavor of blood, that poetry, by which I lived? from Body Rags, Galway Kinnell (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1967).
Written by Galway Kinnell | Create an image from this poem

Little Sleeps-Head Sprouting Hair in the Moonlight

1

You scream, waking from a nightmare.
When I sleepwalk into your room, and pick you up, and hold you up in the moonlight, you cling to me hard, as if clinging could save us.
I think you think I will never die, I think I exude to you the permanence of smoke or stars, even as my broken arms heal themselves around you.
2 I have heard you tell the sun, don't go down, I have stood by as you told the flower, don't grow old, don't die.
Little Maud, I would blow the flame out of your silver cup, I would suck the rot from your fingernail, I would brush your sprouting hair of the dying light, I would scrape the rust off your ivory bones, I would help death escape through the little ribs of your body, I would alchemize the ashes of your cradle back into wood, I would let nothing of you go, ever, until washerwomen feel the clothes fall asleep in their hands, and hens scratch their spell across hatchet blades, and rats walk away from the cultures of the plague, and iron twists weapons toward the true north, and grease refuses to slide in the machinery of progress, and men feel as free on earth as fleas on the bodies of men, and lovers no longer whisper to the presence beside them in the dark, O corpse-to-be .
.
.
And yet perhaps this is the reason you cry, this the nightmare you wake screaming from: being forever in the pre-trembling of a house that falls.
3 In a restaurant once, everyone quietly eating, you clambered up on my lap: to all the mouthfuls rising toward all the mouths, at the top of your voice you cried your one word, caca! caca! caca! and each spoonful stopped, a moment, in midair, in its withering steam.
Yes, you cling because I, like you, only sooner than you, will go down the path of vanished alphabets, the roadlessness to the other side of the darkness, your arms like the shoes left behind, like the adjectives in the halting speech of old men, which once could call up the lost nouns.
4 And you yourself, some impossible Tuesday in the year Two Thousand and Nine, will walk out among the black stones of the field, in the rain, and the stones saying over their one word, ci-g?t, ci-g?t, ci-g?t, and the raindrops hitting you on the fontanel over and over, and you standing there unable to let them in.
5 If one day it happens you find yourself with someone you love in a caf¨¦ at one end of the Pont Mirabeau, at the zinc bar where white wine stands in upward opening glasses, and if you commit then, as we did, the error of thinking, one day all this will only be memory, learn, as you stand at this end of the bridge which arcs, from love, you think, into enduring love, learn to reach deeper into the sorrows to come ¨C to touch the almost imaginary bones under the face, to hear under the laughter the wind crying across the black stones.
Kiss the mouth which tells you, here, here is the world.
This mouth.
This laughter.
These temple bones.
The still undanced cadence of vanishing.
6 In the light the moon sends back, I can see in your eyes the hand that waved once in my father's eyes, a tiny kite wobbling far up in the twilight of his last look: and the angel of all mortal things lets go the string.
7 Back you go, into your crib.
The last blackbird lights up his gold wings: farewell.
Your eyes close inside your head, in sleep.
Already in your dreams the hours begin to sing.
Little sleep's-head sprouting hair in the moonlight, when I come back we will go out together, we will walk out together among the ten thousand things, each scratched too late with such knowledge, the wages of dying is love.
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