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More poems by Philip LevinePhilip Levine | Print this page.Print | View and Write CommentsComments | Books by Philip LevineBooks by Philip Levine

In A Vacant House

Philip Levine

Someone was calling someone; 
now they've stopped. Beyond the glass 
the rose vines quiver as in 
a light wind, but there is none: 
I hear nothing. The moments pass, 
or seem to pass, and the sun, 
risen above the old birch, 
steadies for the downward arch. 

It is noon. Privacy is 
one thing, but to be alone, 
to speak and not to be heard, 
to speak again the same word 
or another until one 
can no longer distinguish 
the presence of silence or 
what the silence is there for... 

No one can begin anew 
naming by turn beast, fowl, 
and bush with the exact word. 
Beyond the fence the sparse wood Yields; 
light enters; nighthawk, owl, 
and weasel have fled. To know 
the complete absence of fear, 
not to fear what is not there 

becomes the end, the last brute 
quiver of instinct. One moves, 
or tries to move, among facts, 
naming one's self and one's acts 
as if they were real. Dead leaves 
cling to the branch, and the root 
grips to endure, but no cry 
questions the illusion of sky.

Added: 25 Feb 2002 | Last Read: 23 Feb 2019 6:43 PM | Viewed: 3613 times

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URL: http://plagiarist.com/poetry/2907/ | Viewed on 23 February 2019.
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