Mark Strand who won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1999 for ‘Blizzard of One’ dies at the age of 80. His poems had that nostalgic tone that tells us time has moved on leaving fragments of us behind…. His poems flow on without the rhyme… the way personally how I often like poetry… a flow not obstructed by the captivity of rhyming
When you read Mark’s poetry you will surely come across the mention of ‘absence’ a theme he often uses in his poems. He was named the U.S. poet Laureate in 1990
As I remember him reading his poetry today….. Here are two poems of his to give you glimpse of his style…
Keeping Things Whole
In a field
I am the absence
always the case.
Wherever I am
I am what is missing.
When I walk
I part the air
the air moves in
to fill the spaces
where my body’s been.
We all have reasons
to keep things whole.
I empty myself of the names of others. I empty my pockets.
I empty my shoes and leave them beside the road.
At night I turn back the clocks;
I open the family album and look at myself as a boy.
What good does it do? The hours have done their job.
I say my own name. I say goodbye.
The words follow each other downwind.
I love my wife but send her away.
My parents rise out of their thrones
into the milky rooms of clouds. How can I sing?
Time tells me what I am. I change and I am the same.
I empty myself of my life and my life remains.
The Coming of Light
Even this late it happens:
the coming of love, the coming of light.
You wake and the candles are lit as if by themselves,
stars gather, dreams pour into your pillows,
sending up warm bouquets of air.
Even this late the bones of the body shine
and tomorrow’s dust flares into breath.