(to someone contemplating suicide)
Wait, for now.
Distrust everything, if you have to.
But trust the hours. Haven’t they
carried you everywhere, up to now?
Personal events will become interesting again.
Hair will become interesting.
Pain will become interesting.
Buds that open out of season will become lovely again.
Second-hand gloves will become lovely again,
their memories are what give them
the need for other hands. And the desolation
of lovers is the same: that enormous emptiness
carved out of such tiny beings as we are
asks to be filled; the need
for the new love is faithfulness to the old.
Don’t go too early.
You’re tired. But everyone’s tired.
But no one is tired enough.
Only wait a while and listen:
music of hair,
music of pain,
music of looms weaving all our loves again.
Be there to hear it, it will be the only time,
most of all to hear,
the flute of your whole existence,
rehearsed by the sorrows, play itself into total exhaustion.
This poem gives me hope. And what a set of images—”music of hair/music of pain/music of looms weaving all our loves again.”
Galway Kinnell was born in Providence in 1927. He has been a teacher and a winner of a Pulitzer Prize, a National Book Award, and a MacArthur grant. He has been called “America’s preeminent visionary” whose work “greets each new age with rapture and abundance [and] sets him at the table with his mentors: Rilke, Whitman, Frost.”
“At a time when so many poets are content to be skillful and trivial, Kinnell speaks with a big voice about the whole of life.”
—Robert Langbaum, American Poetry Review
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