Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Zero Hour

Stephen Dunn is one of a half-dozen living poets to whom I turn regularly--for delight in his metaphysical wit, for insights into what poetry can do to ease our overheated lives, for the pleasure that comes with watching someone find just the right word.  This is a favorite, and speaks to a question never far from my mind--

Zero Hour

It was the hour of simply nothing,
not a single desire in my western heart,
and no ancient system
of breathing and postures,
no big idea justifying what I felt.

There was even an absence of despair.

"Anything goes," I said to myself.
All the clocks were high. Above them,
hundreds of stars flickering if, if, if.
Everywhere in the universe, it seemed,
some next best thing was gathering itself.

I wanted to feel something,
but it was nothing more than a moment
passing into another, or was it even less
eloquent than that, purely muscular,
some meaningless twitch?

I'd let someone else make it rhyme.

Dunn, born in 1939, is the author of sixteen books and teaches at Richard Stockton State College in New Jersey.  This poem is from Different Hours, published in 2000.

No comments:

Post a Comment