Poem with Lines from Pierre Reverdy, by Sandra Simonds

Maybe the world will not be saved.
It will not be saved. Its commerce, its
every case also
moves into its geology
and then that geology moves
into some great exit of slowing
clocks and the history of saved light.

Listen, I’m not crazy. I want you to save
something for me. If someone says
something false, I will tell that person
“you are false” because I am full
of exaggerations and energy
and also because sunlight scatters
across this lake and just one beam
is enough to make my body insane.

The world will not be saved by despair
so we should spend it all on joy, right?
I despair. Does he despair? The desperate
characters walk onto the stage.
The stage a lake the lake a self I staged
The lake the self I staged.
They sing off key like me. There is no
harmony but when the children clap their
little hands, well, neither is there simile.
I washed the dishes; I folded the laundry.
I wanted to walk around this lake
like an innocent.


About this Poem:

I wrote this poem thinking about geologic time—the vastness of it compared to human time and human culture. I probably also had in mind Andrew Marvell’s poem “To His Coy Mistress” (Had we but world enough, and time). So, I guess the poem is about time. Love and time and not ever having enough of either one.”

—Sandra Simonds

Suicide of a Moderate Dictator, by Elizabeth Bishop

This is a day when truths will out, perhaps;
leak from the dangling telephone earphones
sapping the festooned switchboards’ strength;
fall from the windows, blow from off the sills,
—the vague, slight unremarkable contents
of emptying ash-trays; rub off on our fingers
like ink from the un-proof-read newspapers,
crocking the way the unfocused photographs
of crooked faces do that soil our coats,
our tropical-weight coats, like slapped-at moths.

Today’s a day when those who work
are idling. Those who played must work
and hurry, too, to get it done,
with little dignity or none.
The newspapers are sold; the kiosk shutters
crash down. But anyway, in the night
the headlines wrote themselves, see, on the streets
and sidewalks everywhere; a sediment’s splashed
even to the first floors of apartment houses.

This is a day that’s beautiful as well,
and warm and clear. At seven o’clock I saw
the dogs being walked along the famous beach
as usual, in a shiny gray-green dawn,
leaving their paw prints draining in the wet.
The line of breakers was steady and the pinkish,
segmented rainbow steadily hung above it.
At eight two little boys were flying kites.