Monday, April 30, 2007

POETRY | The Lost Hotels of Paris

The Lost Hotels of Paris


The Lord gives everything and charges
by taking it back. What a bargain.
Like being young for a while. We are
allowed to visit hearts of women,
to go into their bodies so we feel
no longer alone. We are permitted
romantic love with its bounty and half-life
of two years. It is right to mourn
for the small hotels of Paris that used to be
when we used to be. My mansard looking
down on Notre Dame every morning is gone,
and me listening to the bell at night.
Venice is no more. The best Greek islands
have drowned in acceleration. But it's the having
not the keeping that is the treasure.
Ginsberg came to my house one afternoon
and said he was giving up poetry
because it told lies, that language distorts.
I agreed, but asked what we have
that gets it right even that much/
We look up at the stars and they are
not there. We see the memory
of when they were, once upon a time.
And that too is more than enough.
~ Jack Gilbert

2 comments:

Imani said...

"But it's the having/not the keeping that is the treasure."

It will take me decades to actually grasp that, I imagine.

So! You do like Gilbert, eh? :)

Dark Orpheus said...

Hi hi. Just picked up "Refusing Heaven" last week from the library. The local library isn't big on jack Gilbert - they only have this ONE collection.

Still a little slow to warm to him, as I'm reading him s-l-o-w-l-y.

But this one is nice. Caught my attention.