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Best Famous Louise Bogan Poems

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Written by Raymond Carver | Create an image from this poem


 And all at length are gathered in.
--LOUISE BOGAN By the time I came around to feeling pain and woke up, moonlight flooded the room.
My arm lay paralyzed, propped up like an old anchor under your back.
You were in a dream, you said later, where you'd arrived early for the dance.
But after a moment's anxiety you were okay because it was really a sidewalk sale, and the shoes you were wearing, or not wearing, were fine for that.
* "Help me," I said.
And tried to hoist my arm.
But it just lay there, aching, unable to rise on its own.
Even after you said, "What is it? What's wrong?" it stayed put -- deaf, unmoved by any expression of fear or amazement.
We shouted at it, and grew afraid when it didn't answer.
"It's gone to sleep," I said, and hearing those words knew how absurd this was.
But I couldn't laugh.
Somehow, between the two of us, we managed to raise it.
This can't be my arm is what I kept thinking as we thumped it, squeezed it, and prodded it back to life.
Shook it until that stinging went away.
We said a few words to each other.
I don't remember what.
Whatever reassuring things people who love each other say to each other given the hour and such odd circumstance.
I do remember you remarked how it was light enough in the room that you could see circles under my eyes.
You said I needed more regular sleep, and I agreed.
Each of us went to the bathroom, and climbed back into bed on our respective sides.
Pulled the covers up.
"Good night," you said, for the second time that night.
And fell asleep.
Maybe into that same dream, or else another.
* I lay until daybreak, holding both arms fast across my chest.
Working my fingers now and then.
While my thoughts kept circling around and around, but always going back where they'd started from.
That one inescapable fact: even while we undertake this trip, there's another, far more bizarre, we still have to make.

Written by Louise Bogan | Create an image from this poem

Solitary Observation Brought Back From A Sojourn In Hell

 At midnight tears
Run in your ears.
Written by Louise Bogan | Create an image from this poem

The Dream

 Love, if I weep it will not matter,
 And if you laugh I shall not care;
Foolish am I to think about it,
 But it is good to feel you there.
Love, in my sleep I dreamed of waking,— White and awful the moonlight reached Over the floor, and somewhere, somewhere, There was a shutter loose,—it screeched! Swung in the wind,—and no wind blowing!— I was afraid, and turned to you, Put out my hand to you for comfort,— And you were gone! Cold, cold as dew, Under my hand the moonlight lay! Love, if you laugh I shall not care, But if I weep it will not matter,— Ah, it is good to feel you there!
Written by Louise Bogan | Create an image from this poem


 Off that landspit of stony mouth-plugs,
Eyes rolled by white sticks,
Ears cupping the sea's incoherences,
You house your unnerving head -- God-ball,
Lens of mercies,
Your stooges
Plying their wild cells in my keel's shadow,
Pushing by like hearts,
Red stigmata at the very center,
Riding the rip tide to the nearest point of

Dragging their Jesus hair.
Did I escape, I wonder? My mind winds to you Old barnacled umbilicus, Atlantic cable, Keeping itself, it seems, in a state of miraculous repair.
In any case, you are always there, Tremulous breath at the end of my line, Curve of water upleaping To my water rod, dazzling and grateful, Touching and sucking.
I didn't call you.
I didn't call you at all.
Nevertheless, nevertheless You steamed to me over the sea, Fat and red, a placenta Paralyzing the kicking lovers.
Cobra light Squeezing the breath from the blood bells Of the fuchsia.
I could draw no breath, Dead and moneyless, Overexposed, like an X-ray.
Who do you think you are? A Communion wafer? Blubbery Mary? I shall take no bite of your body, Bottle in which I live, Ghastly Vatican.
I am sick to death of hot salt.
Green as eunuchs, your wishes Hiss at my sins.
Off, off, eely tentacle! There is nothing between us.
Written by Louise Bogan | Create an image from this poem


 A child draws the outline of a body.
She draws what she can, but it is white all through, she cannot fill in what she knows is there.
Within the unsupported line, she knows that life is missing; she has cut one background from another.
Like a child, she turns to her mother.
And you draw the heart against the emptiness she has created.

Written by Louise Bogan | Create an image from this poem

Man Alone

 It is yourself you seek
In a long rage,
Scanning through light and darkness
Mirrors, the page,

Where should reflected be
Those eyes and that thick hair,
That passionate look, that laughter.
You should appear Within the book, or doubled, Freed, in the silvered glass; Into all other bodies Yourself should pass.
The glass does not dissolve; Like walls the mirrors stand; The printed page gives back Words by another hand.
And your infatuate eye Meets not itself below; Strangers lie in your arms As I lie now.
Written by Louise Bogan | Create an image from this poem

Song For The Last Act

 Now that I have your face by heart, I look
Less at its features than its darkening frame
Where quince and melon, yellow as young flame,
Lie with quilled dahlias and the shepherd's crook.
Beyond, a garden, There, in insolent ease The lead and marble figures watch the show Of yet another summer loath to go Although the scythes hang in the apple trees.
Now that I have your face by heart, I look.
Now that I have your voice by heart, I read In the black chords upon a dulling page Music that is not meant for music's cage, Whose emblems mix with words that shake and bleed.
The staves are shuttled over with a stark Unprinted silence.
In a double dream I must spell out the storm, the running stream.
The beat's too swift.
The notes shift in the dark.
Now that I have your voice by heart, I read.
Now that I have your heart by heart, I see The wharves with their great ships and architraves; The rigging and the cargo and the slaves On a strange beach under a broken sky.
O not departure, but a voyage done! The bales stand on the stone; the anchor weeps Its red rust downward, and the long vine creeps Beside the salt herb, in the lengthening sun.
Now that I have your heart by heart, I see.
Written by Louise Bogan | Create an image from this poem

The Dream

 O God, in the dream the terrible horse began
To paw at the air, and make for me with his blows,
Fear kept for thirty-five years poured through his mane,
And retribution equally old, or nearly, breathed through his nose.
Coward complete, I lay and wept on the ground When some strong creature appeared, and leapt for the rein.
Another woman, as I lay half in a swound Leapt in the air, and clutched at the leather and chain.
Give him, she said, something of yours as a charm.
Throw him, she said, some poor thing you alone claim.
No, no, I cried, he hates me; he is out for harm, And whether I yield or not, it is all the same.
But, like a lion in a legend, when I flung the glove Pulled from my sweating, my cold right hand; The terrible beast, that no one may understand, Came to my side, and put down his head in love.
Written by Louise Bogan | Create an image from this poem


 Now that I know
How passion warms little
Of flesh in the mould,
And treasure is brittle,--

I'll lie here and learn
How, over their ground
Trees make a long shadow
And a light sound.
Written by Louise Bogan | Create an image from this poem


 You have put your two hands upon me, and your mouth,
You have said my name as a prayer.
Here where trees are planted by the water I have watched your eyes, cleansed from regret, And your lips, closed over all that love cannot say, My mother remembers the agony of her womb And long years that seemed to promise more than this.
She says, "You do not love me, You do not want me, You will go away.
" In the country whereto I go I shall not see the face of my friend Nor her hair the color of sunburnt grasses; Together we shall not find The land on whose hills bends the new moon In air traversed of birds.
What have I thought of love? I have said, "It is beauty and sorrow.
" I have thought that it would bring me lost delights, and splendor As a wind out of old time .
But there is only the evening here, And the sound of willows Now and again dipping their long oval leaves in the water.