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A Renewal -- James Merrill

Guest poem submitted by Vikram Doctor:
(Poem #528) A Renewal
 Having used every subterfuge
 To shake you, lies, fatigue, or even that of passion,
 Now I see no way but a clean break.
 I add that I am willing to bear the guilt.

 You nod assent. Autumn turns windy, huge,
 A clear vase of dry leaves vibrating on and on.
 We sit, watching. When I next speak
 Love buries itself in me, up to the hilt.
-- James Merrill
A short, sad and lovely poem that perfectly illustrates the inexplicable
complications of emotional bonds. Anyone who has ever been in a relationship
must have felt like this at sometime. And 'up to the hilt' perfectly captures
both the depths and the pain.

Merrill is best known for his longer poems, particularly the sequence
collectively known as 'The Changing Light At Sandover', but he could also
produce small gems like these.


92 comments: ( or Leave a comment )

Louis said...

This short confession indeed reflects a "Renewal." The author has tried
every method possible to dismiss his feelings for the other, who calmly
accepts the rejection (or at least the attempt of one). However, when
Autumn - a season of intimations of mortality - arrives, the author is
struck nearly speechless by the realization that he has again succumbed
to the same, if not deeper, love for this person. It is possible to fall
in love with someone all over again, despite our intellect. All it may
take is a glance while watching the falling leaves.

Louis Lopardi

Anonymous said...

This poem is an absolute masterpiece. Not a single redundant or needlessly complex phrase in it, yet piercing. In a way poetry like this makes the argument for poetry as an art form.

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