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Hayden Carruth

(August 3, 1921 – September 29, 2008 / Woodbury, Connecticut)

Poem Catching Up With An Idea


Freedom is not to be proved but is rather a postulate
of action. Thus excellent Berdyaev,
who has meant much to me,
although I must shake my head and make a face
when he undertakes to explain
the Holy Ghost. We are unbelievers,
Cindy, which may be (I regularly
think it is) our misfortune. But we are still
existentialist lovers. Yes,
strange Soren Kierkegaard of Hamlet's province
would approve of us--well, somewhat--in our unchurchly
dark
devotions. In Syracuse the rain falls every day,
or so it seems; the faces
of the good unchurchly burghers of Edgehill Road
are as bland as marshmallows and as puffy.
To live here, to love here,
as Jack our friend the Gilbert would say,
sighing, smiling,
requires an extraordinary knowledge of freedom,
unhistorical and reinvented by us here in every
act, as when I brought for you for a love token
the plastic sack of just sprouted lilies-of-the-valley
to plant around the steps of our arched doorway.
That was phenomenon, not poetry, not symbol, the act
without a proof, freedom-in-love.

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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