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Friday, 12 June 2015

Robert Creeley: Love


In the Forest of Fontainbleu: Camille Corot (1796-1875), c. 1860-65, oil on canvas, 46 x 59 cm (National Gallery of Art, Washington)

Nothing is without place,
in mind, in physical apprehension --

or if "a dagger of the mind" is the purpose,
hold on to it for dear life, or else kill somebody.

Just when I thought I had it made, I lost it.
Just when I knew what to do, I was an old man.

You hear that bird sing in the tree, there,
you know still what a tree is?

Love is a place, not a person, love is
a weather of time, a convenience to absent sorrows.

But talk is the cheapest of all, means what it wants to,
waits up for no one, always goes home alone.

Robert Creeley (1926-2005): Love, from Places, 1990

Landscape: Camille Corot (1796-1875), n. d., oil on canvas 32.4 x 21.6 cm (private collection)

Forest in Fontainbleu: Camille Corot (1796-1875), oil on canvas, 49.35.5 cm (private collection)

Fontainbleu, the Bas Breau Road: Camille Corot
(1796-1875), c. 1830-35, oil on canvas (private collection)

An Artist Painting in the Forest of Fontainbleu: Camille Corot (1796-1875), 1850-55, oil on canvas, 28.6 x 24.1 cm (private collection) 

Figures in a Forest: Camille Corot (1796-1875), c. 1850-60, fresco (private collection) 

Souvenir of Ville d'Avray: Camille Corot (1796-1875), 1872, oil on canvas, 49.35.5 cm (Musée d'Orsay, Paris)

In the Forest of Fontainbleu: Camille Corot (1796-1875), c. 1860-65, oil on canvas, 46 x 59 cm (National Gallery of Art, Washington)


Anonymous said...

intense poem...interesting contradictions....I love these lines:
"Love is a place, not a person, love is
a weather of time, a convenience to absent sorrows."

billoo said...

wonderful poem, Tom.

What if the beloved is a specific person in a particular place at a definite time?

Time, the deer, is in Hallaig Wood.
I'll go to Hallaig,
To the sabbath of the dead,
Down to where each departed generation has gathered
Hallaig is where they survive.

And coming back from Clachan and Suisnish,
their land of the living,
Still lightsome and unheartbroken,
Their stories only beginning.

And their beauty a glaze on my heart.
then as the kyles go dim
And the sun sets behind the Dun Cana
Love's loaded gun will take aim.

It will bring down the lightheaded deer
As he sniffs the grass round the wallsteads
And his eyes will freeze: while I live,
His blood won't be traced in the woods.
-----Hallaig, Sorley Maclean.

Nin Andrews said...


vazambam (Vassilis Zambaras) said...

Nothing cheap about this precious poem.

Daniel Abdal-Hayy Moore said...

This poem this morning, Tom, think still about that deer from yesterday, then today's poem and the Sorley Maclean poem, so moving... (I'd never heard of him, and only a few days ago someone asked me about modern Scottish poets... and me, a descendent of Robert the Bruce! So my aunt said, in our family tree... but when I mentioned it to a Scottish girl in London, she said, "Oh everybody in Scotland is descended from Robert the Bruce!"

(I want one of those Corot paintings in my house!)


for Tom Clark

A gray fox this time
with black nose

slips almost unnoticed
along the city street

next to the great woods

and most think he’s a
neighborhood cat out for a

serendipitous stroll

a few sardine cans whose
oils may not be completely


He’s slick in the
full moonlight

as if wearing ermines

the light off his
gray coat shines

and he’s thinking foxy
thoughts pretty

unfathomable to such as

us with our limited but
technologically supported

communication skills

The fox who yips and
barks at night so

neighbors think it’s a
dog fight or a

tomcat commotion

bouncing along
nose choosing from the

menu of odors we can’t
even smell

pricks up his ears for a

stock still

momentarily majestic

then ambles on
as much in God’s

sight as we are only
O so much more

naturally glamorous!


manik sharma said...


I wonder what convenience is for present sorrows. Poetry? G7 summits? Election? Change? Being Woody Allen's producer these days? or saying it all at the oscars? I begin to think, and I think until it inconveniences me. That is why I love love.