Jack Gilbert

(1925 - / Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)

Tear It Down


We find out the heart only by dismantling what
the heart knows. By redefining the morning,
we find a morning that comes just after darkness.
We can break through marriage into marriage.
By insisting on love we spoil it, get beyond
affection and wade mouth-deep into love.
We must unlearn the constellations to see the stars.
But going back toward childhood will not help.
The village is not better than Pittsburgh.
Only Pittsburgh is more than Pittsburgh.
Rome is better than Rome in the same way the sound
of raccoon tongues licking the inside walls
of the garbage tub is more than the stir
of them in the muck of the garbage. Love is not
enough. We die and are put into the earth forever.
We should insist while there is still time. We must
eat through the wildness of her sweet body already
in our bed to reach the body within that body.

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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  • Erhard Hans Josef Lang (4/19/2008 8:15:00 PM)

    ... or as In Uuno Kailas' Prayer it is said so beautifully: ...There is no pitying that heart that it is being nailed to a cross, as long as it were by Life's own hands, For such a heart's measure will be full... (Report) Reply

  • Lynne Bc (6/22/2006 8:26:00 AM)

    Jack,
    Clicked the random poem choice and here I am. I love this poem! There's too much truth in it. Sometimes its difficult to see the simplicity of things because we look first at the over-all picture than the thing itself. and sometimes, before we know it...we've already lost time to appreciate the wonder!
    Good read! Write on!
    Lynne (Report) Reply

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