Best Famous Gerald Stern Poems

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

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Written by Gerald Stern | Create an image from this poem

I Remember Galileo

 I remember Galileo describing the mind
as a piece of paper blown around by the wind,
and I loved the sight of it sticking to a tree,
or jumping into the backseat of a car, 
and for years I watched paper leap through my cities;
but yesterday I saw the mind was a squirrel caught crossing
Route 80 between the wheels of a giant truck,
dancing back and forth like a thin leaf,
or a frightened string, for only two seconds living
on the white concrete before he got away,
his life shortened by all that terror, his head
jerking, his yellow teeth ground down to dust.
It was the speed of the squirrel and his lowness to the ground, his great purpose and the alertness of his dancing, that showed me the difference between him and paper.
Paper will do in theory, when there is time to sit back in a metal chair and study shadows; but for this life I need a squirrel, his clawed feet spread, his whole soul quivering, the loud noise shaking him from head to tail.
O philosophical mind, O mind of paper, I need a squirrel finishing his wild dash across the highway, rushing up his green ungoverned hillside.
Written by Gerald Stern | Create an image from this poem

Swan Song

 A bunch of old snakeheads down by the pond
carrying on the swan tradition -- hissing
inside their white bodies, raising and lowering their heads
like ostriches, regretting only the sad ritual
that forced them to waddle back into the water
after their life under the rocks, wishing they could lie again
 in the sun

and dream of spreading their terrifying wings;
wishing, this time, they could sail through the sky like
their tails rigid, their white manes fluttering,
their mouths open, their sharp teeth flashing,
drops of mercy pouring from their eyes,
bolts of wisdom from their foreheads.