Robert Pinsky

(October 20, 1940 / New Jersey)

Ode To Meaning


Dire one and desired one,
Savior, sentencer--

In an old allegory you would carry
A chained alphabet of tokens:

Ankh Badge Cross.
Dragon,
Engraved figure guarding a hallowed intaglio,
Jasper kinema of legendary Mind,
Naked omphalos pierced
By quills of rhyme or sense, torah-like: unborn
Vein of will, xenophile
Yearning out of Zero.

Untrusting I court you. Wavering
I seek your face, I read
That Crusoe's knife
Reeked of you, that to defile you
The soldier makes the rabbi spit on the torah.
"I'll drown my book" says Shakespeare.

Drowned walker, revenant.
After my mother fell on her head, she became
More than ever your sworn enemy. She spoke
Sometimes like a poet or critic of forty years later.
Or she spoke of the world as Thersites spoke of the heroes,
"I think they have swallowed one another. I
Would laugh at that miracle."

You also in the laughter, warrior angel:
Your helmet the zodiac, rocket-plumed
Your spear the beggar's finger pointing to the mouth
Your heel planted on the serpent Formulation
Your face a vapor, the wreath of cigarette smoke crowning
Bogart as he winces through it.

You not in the words, not even
Between the words, but a torsion,
A cleavage, a stirring.

You stirring even in the arctic ice,
Even at the dark ocean floor, even
In the cellular flesh of a stone.
Gas. Gossamer. My poker friends
Question your presence
In a poem by me, passing the magazine
One to another.

Not the stone and not the words, you
Like a veil over Arthur's headstone,
The passage from Proverbs he chose
While he was too ill to teach
And still well enough to read, I was
Beside the master craftsman
Delighting him day after day, ever
At play in his presence--you

A soothing veil of distraction playing over
Dying Arthur playing in the hospital,
Thumbing the Bible, fuzzy from medication,
Ever courting your presence,
And you the prognosis,
You in the cough.

Gesturer, when is your spur, your cloud?
You in the airport rituals of greeting and parting.
Indicter, who is your claimant?
Bell at the gate. Spiderweb iron bridge.
Cloak, video, aroma, rue, what is your
Elected silence, where was your seed?

What is Imagination
But your lost child born to give birth to you?

Dire one. Desired one.
Savior, sentencer--

Absence,
Or presence ever at play:
Let those scorn you who never
Starved in your dearth. If I
Dare to disparage
Your harp of shadows I taste
Wormwood and motor oil, I pour
Ashes on my head. You are the wound. You
Be the medicine.

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

Do you like this poem?
1 person liked.
0 person did not like.

What do you think this poem is about?



Read poems about / on: soldier, poem, angel, laughter, birth, ocean, sometimes, silence, ode, child, mother, lost, dark, hero, wind, friend, children

Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Comments about this poem (Ode To Meaning by Robert Pinsky )

Enter the verification code :

There is no comment submitted by members..

PoemHunter.com Updates

New Poems

  1. falling down a well- well, you pushed me, Mandolyn ...
  2. Indeed, george albot
  3. Poets, Do You Agree?, Sandra Feldman
  4. broad boy souffle, derrick foster
  5. PH: Nature: Canoeing The Mississippi - P.., Brian Johnston
  6. Steps Of Purpose, RoseAnn V. Shawiak
  7. Whispers Of Ancient Parables, RoseAnn V. Shawiak
  8. Unanswerable 3, Frank Avon
  9. Being Enlightened, RoseAnn V. Shawiak
  10. Unanswerable 2, Frank Avon

Poem of the Day

poet Sir John Suckling

Dost see how unregarded now
That piece of beauty passes?
There was a time when I did vow
To that alone;
But mark the fate of faces;
...... Read complete »

 

Modern Poem

poet Elizabeth Bishop

 

Member Poem

Trending Poems

  1. The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
  2. Fire and Ice, Robert Frost
  3. Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
  4. Nothing Gold Can Stay, Robert Frost
  5. Dreams, Langston Hughes
  6. Annabel Lee, Edgar Allan Poe
  7. Invictus, William Ernest Henley
  8. Phenomenal Woman, Maya Angelou
  9. Sonnet I, Sir John Suckling
  10. Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, Robert Frost

Trending Poets

[Hata Bildir]