Donald Hall

(20 September 1928 - / Hamden / Connecticut)

A Poet at Twenty


    Images leap with him from branch to branch. His eyes
brighten, his head cocks, he pauses under a green bough,
alert.
    And when I see him I want to hide him somewhere.
    The other wood is past the hill. But he will enter it, and find the particular maple. He will walk through the door of the maple, and his arms will pull out of their sockets, and the blood will bubble from his mouth, his ears, his penis, and his nostrils. His body will rot. His body will dry in ropey tatters. Maybe he will grow his body again, three years later. Maybe he won't.
    There is nothing to do, to keep this from happening.
    It occurs to me that the greatest gentleness would put a bullet into his bright eye. And when I look in his eye, it is not his eye that I see.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003
Edited: Sunday, September 04, 2011

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Comments about this poem (A Poet at Twenty by Donald Hall )

  • Rookie - 150 Points Romella Kitchens (2/25/2014 4:19:00 AM)

    There is always this sense of the forbidden to be said being said in (not all) but in various major works of poetry. Here man as shadow self shows its aspect, that darker truth in us all which in the narrator of this poem issues in him the need to kill to preserve the unpreservable, to bring about death which will then destroy it even more quickly. The underlying sexual tone is there as well with a possible need for perpetual secrecy. And, all in limited
    lines. (Report) Reply

  • Bronze Star - 2,229 Points john tiong chunghoo (6/15/2006 12:45:00 PM)

    wonderful isnt it? love the subtlety. (Report) Reply

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