Never: Poems

Front Cover
HarperCollins, Apr 2, 2002 - Poetry - 128 pages
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Over a dock railing, I watch the minnows, thousands, swirl
themselves, each a minuscule muscle, but also, without the
way to create current, making of their unison (turning, re- infolding,
entering and exiting their own unison in unison) making of themselves a
visual current, one that cannot freight or sway by
minutest fractions the water' s downdrafts and upswirls, the
dockside cycles of finally-arriving boat-wakes, there where
they hit deeper resistance, water that seems to burst into
itself (it has those layers), a real current though mostly
invisible sending into the visible (minnows) arrowing
motion that forces change --
this is freedom. This is the force of faith. Nobody gets
what they want. Never again are you the same. The longing
is to be pure. What you get is to be changed. More and more by
each glistening minute, through which infinity threads itself,
also oblivion, of course, the aftershocks of something
at sea. Here, hands full of sand, letting it sift through
in the wind, I look in and say take this, this is
what I have saved, take this, hurry. And if I listen
now? Listen, I was not saying anything. It was only
something I did. I could not choose words. I am free to go.
I cannot of course come back. Not to this. Never.
It is a ghost posed on my lips. Here: never.

Afterwards And translucence itself, bare, bony, feeding and growing on the manifest,
frets in the small puddles of snowmelt sidewalks and frozen lawns hold up
full of sky.
From this eternity, where we do notresemble ourselves, where
resemblance is finally
beside (as the river is) the point,
and attention can no longer change the outcome of the gaze,
the ear too is finally sated, starlings starting up ladderings of chatter,
all at once all to the left,
invisible in the pruned-back
hawthorn, heard and heard again, and yet again
differently heard, but silting
the head with inwardness and making always a
dispersing but still
coalescing opening in the listener who
cannot look at them exactly,
since they are invisible inside the greens -- though screeching-full in
syncopations of yellowest,
fine-thought, finespun
rivering of almost-knowables. "Gold" is too dark. "Featherwork"
too thick. When two
appear in flight, straight to the child-sized pond of
melted snow,
and thrash, dunk, rise, shake, rethrashing, reconfiguring through
reshufflings and resettlings the whole body of integrated
they shatter open the blue-and-tree-tip filled-up gaze of
the lawn' s two pools,
breaking and ruffling all the crisp true sky we had seen living
down in that tasseled
earth. How shall we say this happened? Something inaudible
has ceased. Has gone back round to an other side
of which this side' s access was [is] this width of sky
deep in
just-greening soil? We left the party without a word.
We did not change, but time changed us. It should be,
it seems, one or the other of us who is supposed to say -- lest
there be nothing -- here we are. It was supposed to become familiar
(this earth). It was to become "ours." Lest there be nothing?
Lest wereach down to touch our own reflection here?
Shouldn' t depth come to sight and let it in, in the end, as the form
the farewell takes: representation: dead men:
lean forward and look in: the raggedness of where the openings
are: precision of the limbs upthrusting down to hell:
the gleaming in: so blue: and that it has a bottom: even a few clouds
if you keep
attending: and something that' s an edge-of: and mind-cracks: and how the
poem is
about that: that distant life: I carry it inside me but
can plant it into soil: so that it becomes impossible
to say that anything swayed
from in to out: then back to "is this mine, or yours?": the mind
seeks danger out: it reaches in, would touch: where the subject is emptying,
war is:
morality play: preface: what there is to be thought: love:
begin with the world: let it be small enough.

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User Review  - abirdman - LibraryThing

Jorie Graham is brilliant. Her poetry can be extremely cold and distant-- sometimes opaque-- but is almost always worth the effort to decipher. This is poetry which is the opposite of "daily ... Read full review

Never: poems

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Graham's ninth collection continues along the same ambitious curve as her prior two works, Errancy and Swarm, using flux and interruption as both form and topic. Many of ... Read full review

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About the author (2002)

Jorie Graham is the author of twelve collections of poetry, including The Dream of the Unified Field, which won the Pulitzer Prize. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she teaches at Harvard University. The recipient of numerous awards, including the Pulitzer, the Forward Prize and the International Nonino Prize, Graham's work is widely translated.

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