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Raymond Carver Poems

A collection of select Raymond Carver famous poems that were written by Raymond Carver or written about the poet by other famous poets. PoetrySoup is a comprehensive educational resource of the greatest poems and poets on history.

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by Carver, Raymond
 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...Read More



by Carver, Raymond
 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...Read More

by Carver, Raymond
 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...Read More

by Carver, Raymond
 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...Read More

by Carver, Raymond
 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...Read More



by Carver, Raymond
 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...Read More

by Carver, Raymond
 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....Read More

by Carver, Raymond
 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...Read More

by Carver, Raymond
 It's what the kids nowadays call weed. And it drifts
like clouds from his lips. He hopes no one
comes along tonight, or calls to ask for help.
Help is what he's most short on tonight.
A storm thrashes outside. Heavy seas
with gale winds from the west. The table he sits at
is, say, two cubits long and one wide.
The darkness in the room...Read More

by Carver, Raymond
 Cool summer nights.
Windows open.
Lamps burning.
Fruit in the bowl.
And your head on my shoulder.
These the happiest moments in the day.

Next to the early morning hours,
of course. And the time
just before lunch.
And the afternoon, and
early evening hours.
But I do love

these summer nights.
Even more, I think,
than those other times.
The work finished for the day.
And no one who can reach us now.
Or ever....Read More

by Carver, Raymond
 A few minutes ago, I stepped onto the deck
of the house. From there I could see and hear the water,
and everything that's happened to me all these years.
It was hot and still. The tide was out.
No birds sang. As I leaned against the railing
a cobweb touched my forehead.
It caught in my hair. No one can blame me that I...Read More

by Carver, Raymond
 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....Read More

by Carver, Raymond
 I woke up with a spot of blood 
over my eye. A scratch 
halfway across my forehead. 
But I'm sleeping alone these days. 
Why on earth would a man raise his hand 
against himself, even in sleep? 
It's this and similar questions 
I'm trying to answer this morning. 
As I study my face in the window....Read More

by Carver, Raymond
 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...Read More

by Carver, Raymond
 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...Read More

by Carver, Raymond
 it gets run over by a van. 
you find it at the side of the road 
and bury it. 
you feel bad about it. 
you feel bad personally, 
but you feel bad for your daughter 
because it was her pet, 
and she loved it so. 
she used to croon to it 
and let it sleep in her bed. 
you...Read More