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Best Famous Mark Strand Poems

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

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Written by Mark Strand | Create an image from this poem

The Story Of Our Lives

 1
We are reading the story of our lives
which takes place in a room.
The room looks out on a street.
There is no one there, no sound of anything.
The tress are heavy with leaves, the parked cars never move.
We keep turning the pages, hoping for something, something like mercy or change, a black line that would bind us or keep us apart.
The way it is, it would seem the book of our lives is empty.
The furniture in the room is never shifted, and the rugs become darker each time our shadows pass over them.
It is almost as if the room were the world.
We sit beside each other on the couch, reading about the couch.
We say it is ideal.
It is ideal.
2 We are reading the story of our lives, as though we were in it, as though we had written it.
This comes up again and again.
In one of the chapters I lean back and push the book aside because the book says it is what I am doing.
I lean back and begin to write about the book.
I write that I wish to move beyond the book.
Beyond my life into another life.
I put the pen down.
The book says: "He put the pen down and turned and watched her reading the part about herself falling in love.
" The book is more accurate than we can imagine.
I lean back and watch you read about the man across the street.
They built a house there, and one day a man walked out of it.
You fell in love with him because you knew that he would never visit you, would never know you were waiting.
Night after night you would say that he was like me.
I lean back and watch you grow older without me.
Sunlight falls on your silver hair.
The rugs, the furniture, seem almost imaginary now.
"She continued to read.
She seemed to consider his absence of no special importance, as someone on a perfect day will consider the weather a failure because it did not change his mind.
" You narrow your eyes.
You have the impulse to close the book which describes my resistance: how when I lean back I imagine my life without you, imagine moving into another life, another book.
It describes your dependence on desire, how the momentary disclosures of purpose make you afraid.
The book describes much more than it should.
It wants to divide us.
3 This morning I woke and believed there was no more to to our lives than the story of our lives.
When you disagreed, I pointed to the place in the book where you disagreed.
You fell back to sleep and I began to read those mysterious parts you used to guess at while they were being written and lose interest in after they became part of the story.
In one of them cold dresses of moonlight are draped over the chairs in a man's room.
He dreams of a woman whose dresses are lost, who sits in a garden and waits.
She believes that love is a sacrifice.
The part describes her death and she is never named, which is one of the things you could not stand about her.
A little later we learn that the dreaming man lives in the new house across the street.
This morning after you fell back to sleep I began to turn the pages early in the book: it was like dreaming of childhood, so much seemed to vanish, so much seemed to come to life again.
I did not know what to do.
The book said: "In those moments it was his book.
A bleak crown rested uneasily on his head.
He was the brief ruler of inner and outer discord, anxious in his own kingdom.
" 4 Before you woke I read another part that described your absence and told how you sleep to reverse the progress of your life.
I was touched by my own loneliness as I read, knowing that what I feel is often the crude and unsuccessful form of a story that may never be told.
"He wanted to see her naked and vulnerable, to see her in the refuse, the discarded plots of old dreams, the costumes and masks of unattainable states.
It was as if he were drawn irresistably to failure.
" It was hard to keep reading.
I was tired and wanted to give up.
The book seemed aware of this.
It hinted at changing the subject.
I waited for you to wake not knowing how long I waited, and it seemed that I was no longer reading.
I heard the wind passing like a stream of sighs and I heard the shiver of leaves in the trees outside the window.
It would be in the book.
Everything would be there.
I looked at your face and I read the eyes, the nose, the mouth .
.
.
5 If only there were a perfect moment in the book; if only we could live in that moment, we could being the book again as if we had not written it, as if we were not in it.
But the dark approaches to any page are too numerous and the escapes are too narrow.
We read through the day.
Each page turning is like a candle moving through the mind.
Each moment is like a hopeless cause.
If only we could stop reading.
"He never wanted to read another book and she kept staring into the street.
The cars were still there, the deep shade of trees covered them.
The shades were drawn in the new house.
Maybe the man who lived there, the man she loved, was reading the story of another life.
She imagine a bare parlor, a cold fireplace, a man sitting writing a letter to a woman who has sacrificed her life for love.
" If there were a perfect moment in the book, it would be the last.
The book never discusses the causes of love.
It claims confusion is a necessary good.
It never explains.
It only reveals.
6 The day goes on.
We study what we remember.
We look into the mirror across the room.
We cannot bear to be alone.
The book goes on.
"They became silent and did not know how to begin the dialogue which was necessary.
It was words that created divisions in the first place, that created loneliness.
They waited they would turn the pages, hoping something would happen.
They would patch up their lives in secret: each defeat forgiven because it could not be tested, each pain rewarded because it was unreal.
They did nothing.
" 7 The book will not survive.
We are the living proof of that.
It is dark outside, in the room it is darker.
I hear your breathing.
You are asking me if I am tired, if I want to keep reading.
Yes, I am tired.
Yes, I want to keep reading.
I say yes to everything.
You cannot hear me.
"They sat beside each other on the couch.
They were the copies, the tired phantoms of something they had been before.
The attitudes they took were jaded.
They stared into the book and were horrified by their innocence, their reluctance to give up.
They sat beside each other on the couch.
They were determined to accept the truth.
Whatever it was they would accept it.
The book would have to be written and would have to be read.
They are the book and they are nothing else.


Written by Mark Strand | Create an image from this poem

Courtship

 There is a girl you like so you tell her
your ***** is big, but that you cannot get yourself
to use it.
Its demands are ridiculous, you say, even self-defeating, but to be honored, somehow, briefly, inconspicuously in the dark.
When she closes her eyes in horror, you take it all back.
You tell her you're almost a girl yourself and can understand why she is shocked.
When she is about to walk away, you tell her you have no *****, that you don't know what got into you.
You get on your knees.
She suddenly bends down to kiss your shoulder and you know you're on the right track.
You tell her you want to bear children and that is why you seem confused.
You wrinkle your brow and curse the day you were born.
She tries to calm you, but you lose control.
You reach for her panties and beg forgiveness as you do.
She squirms and you howl like a wolf.
Your craving seems monumental.
You know you will have her.
Taken by storm, she is the girl you will marry.
Written by Mark Strand | Create an image from this poem

Giving Myself Up

 I give up my eyes which are glass eggs.
I give up my tongue.
I give up my mouth which is the contstant dream of my tongue.
I give up my throat which is the sleeve of my voice.
I give up my heart which is a burning apple.
I give up my lungs which are trees that have never seen the moon.
I give up my smell which is that of a stone traveling through rain.
I give up my hands which are ten wishes.
I give up my arms which have wanted to leave me anyway.
I give up my legs which are lovers only at night.
I give up my buttocks which are the moons of childhood.
I give up my ***** which whispers encouragement to my thighs.
I give up my clothes which are walls that blow in the wind and I give up the ghost that lives in them.
I give up.
I give up.
And you will have none of it because already I am beginning again without anything.
Written by Mark Strand | Create an image from this poem

A Piece Of The Storm

 For Sharon Horvath

From the shadow of domes in the city of domes,
A snowflake, a blizzard of one, weightless, entered your room
And made its way to the arm of the chair where you, looking up
From your book, saw it the moment it landed.
That's all There was to it.
No more than a solemn waking To brevity, to the lifting and falling away of attention, swiftly, A time between times, a flowerless funeral.
No more than that Except for the feeling that this piece of the storm, Which turned into nothing before your eyes, would come back, That someone years hence, sitting as you are now, might say: "It's time.
The air is ready.
The sky has an opening.
"
Written by Mark Strand | Create an image from this poem

Keeping Things Whole

 In a field
I am the absence
of field.
This is always the case.
Wherever I am I am what is missing.
When I walk I part the air and always the air moves in to fill the spaces where my body's been.
We all have reasons for moving.
I move to keep things whole.


Written by Mark Strand | Create an image from this poem

The Remains

 I empty myself of the names of others.
I empty my pockets.
I empty my shoes and leave them beside the road.
At night I turn back the clocks; I open the family album and look at myself as a boy.
What good does it do? The hours have done their job.
I say my own name.
I say goodbye.
The words follow each other downwind.
I love my wife but send her away.
My parents rise out of their thrones into the milky rooms of clouds.
How can I sing? Time tells me what I am.
I change and I am the same.
I empty myself of my life and my life remains.
Written by Mark Strand | Create an image from this poem

Eating Poetry

 Ink runs from the corners of my mouth.
There is no happiness like mine.
I have been eating poetry.
The librarian does not believe what she sees.
Her eyes are sad and she walks with her hands in her dress.
The poems are gone.
The light is dim.
The dogs are on the basement stairs and coming up.
Their eyeballs roll, their blond legs burn like brush.
The poor librarian begins to stamp her feet and weep.
She does not understand.
When I get on my knees and lick her hand, she screams.
I am a new man.
I snarl at her and bark.
I romp with joy in the bookish dark.
Written by Mark Strand | Create an image from this poem

The Dreadful Has Already Happened

 The relatives are leaning over, staring expectantly.
They moisten their lips with their tongues.
I can feel them urging me on.
I hold the baby in the air.
Heaps of broken bottles glitter in the sun.
A small band is playing old fashioned marches.
My mother is keeping time by stamping her foot.
My father is kissing a woman who keeps waving to somebody else.
There are palm trees.
The hills are spotted with orange flamboyants and tall billowy clouds move beyond them.
"Go on, Boy," I hear somebody say, "Go on.
" I keep wondering if it will rain.
The sky darkens.
There is thunder.
"Break his legs," says one of my aunts, "Now give him a kiss.
" I do what I'm told.
The trees bend in the bleak tropical wind.
The baby did not scream, but I remember that sigh when I reached inside for his tiny lungs and shook them out in the air for the flies.
The relatives cheered.
It was about that time I gave up.
Now, when I answer the phone, his lips are in the receiver; when I sleep, his hair is gathered around a familiar face on the pillow; wherever I search I find his feet.
He is what is left of my life.
Written by Mark Strand | Create an image from this poem

Lines For Winter

 Tell yourself
as it gets cold and gray falls from the air
that you will go on
walking, hearing
the same tune no matter where
you find yourself --
inside the dome of dark
or under the cracking white
of the moon's gaze in a valley of snow.
Tonight as it gets cold tell yourself what you know which is nothing but the tune your bones play as you keep going.
And you will be able for once to lie down under the small fire of winter stars.
And if it happens that you cannot go on or turn back and you find yourself where you will be at the end, tell yourself in that final flowing of cold through your limbs that you love what you are.
Written by Mark Strand | Create an image from this poem

So You Say

 It is all in the mind, you say, and has
nothing to do with happiness.
The coming of cold, the coming of heat, the mind has all the time in the world.
You take my arm and say something will happen, something unusual for which we were always prepared, like the sun arriving after a day in Asia, like the moon departing after a night with us.
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