Saturday, August 8, 2009

Tear It Down by Jack Gilbert

Tear It Down
By Jack Gilbert

We find out the heart only by dismantling what
the heart knows. By redefining the morning,
we find a morning that comes just after darkness.
We can break through marriage into marriage.
By insisting on love we spoil it, get beyond
affection and wade mouth-deep into love.
We must unlearn the constellations to see the stars.
But going back toward childhood will not help.
The village is not better than Pittsburgh.
Only Pittsburgh is more than Pittsburgh.
Rome is better than Rome in the same way the sound
of racoon tongues licking the inside walls
of the garbage tub is more than the stir
of them in the muck of the garbage. Love is not
enough. We die and are put into the earth forever.
We should insist while there is still time. We must
eat through the wildness of her sweet body already
in our bed to reach the body within the body.



Woman in a Window said...

Holy, holy fut, Marion. Holy, holy fut.

Jack Gilbert, you just screwed my mind!

How many times will I have to turn this to fully understand? Perhaps it will take forever.

Linda S. Socha said...


I wonder and the story beneath the story. Wonderful post...I hope your weekend is filled with the things you love

Marion said...

I've read many poems by this amazing man and they always demand a re-reading. He's on my 'need to buy his book of poetry' list! Thanks, Erin and Linda for stopping by. Love & Blessings!!

Rikkij said...

Marion- Thank God for erin's comment!! I have no idea what the hell he is saying and was afriad I was alone. Haven't been this confused since I tried to read Leonard Cohen's thoughts on God!! Sheesh!! was so afraid I would have to make something up to seem profound. Thank you erin!! ok, back to post; um...oh, shit! look at the time! I'll try to get back later. Whew! ~rick

Kelly said...

This one is a little bizarre for a poetry novice like me. Speaking of, I've found quite a few of them in that "Poetry Daily" book we both have to be rather bizarre. I'll admit, I'm probably a week behind on reading my "poem a day".

Karen said...

Where on earth did you find Jack Gilbert? What wonderful, thought-provoking poetry! Thanks for introducing us to him. I'm with you...he's on my list of must haves.

Marion said...

I found Jack Gilbert while reading poetry by Linda Gilbert who used to be married to him. I think I discovered her through Margaret's blog.

To me this poem is about finding the words under the words---about going deeper, digging until we find gold.

I was walking one day and realized, like an epiphany, that I had spent my entire life walking through acres and acres of sky. (As this poem would say, I had to unlearn the sky.)The sky is not *up there* somewhere. The sky begins right here above our toes above the ground. I have been married for 37 years to the same man and have fallen in and out of love with him hundreds of times. It's a mystery, but this poem makes perfect sense to me. It's one of those enignamtic poems, I guess. But, to me, it's like music in my heart.

kj said...

oh my god, marion. it's as though i've just been given permission to love deeply in my own way, to have expectations from love without feeling guilty. i've struggled with this for exactly one year now, and this poem today and your post today may be the turning point i will remember.

thank you my good friend.

Rikkij said...

Marion- That's lovely. I'm so glad it sings to you. That is a mystery-Can you really do that over and over or is either the in or the out a time of denial?. I like what you say about looking at the same things with fresh eyes. Take care, Dear Friend~rick

Marion said...

Karen, so glad the poem spoke to you in such a deep way. That's what poetry does to me---it speaks to my heart. I like the way different people take different things from poetry. Some folks love poems that are like jibberish to me. Go figure! We're all different, thank God! Blessings to you, friend...

Rick, I can only speak for myself. Me, I'm an expert on denial, so I can say it's definitely not denial. I know denial intimately. It's a mystery. Who can explain love? People die for love every day. I think it was the illustrious Jimmy Buffet who said, "There's a fine line between Saturday night and Sunday morning." Well, same with love. There's a fine line between love and hate. It's all passion, no? I don't think you can hate someone you have no feelings for, but that's just my opinion. Hell, we could expound for endless days on love and still come to no sane conclusion. Love is crazy, for sure. LOL! Love & Blessings, friend of my heart....xoxoxoxo

Judith Ellis said...

From the standpoint that we are forever dying to self, that we are forever being born again, that we are forever becoming more of what we will yet be, I can understand these words. So, there must be an understanding of deconstruction before destruction begins. Otherwise, we can destroy a good thing that does build into something better, if nothing more than our understanding of ourselves and others. Demolition for its very sake, as in outright rebellion or carelessness, makes only a bad situation worse. But again, I'm always for dying to self which requires a constant analysis and acceptance, a beautiful humility and discovery. Thanks for the post, Marion. It's reflective.

Marion said...

Judith, your mind is just spectacular. LOL! I love your comment. Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing your thoughts on this poem. Blessings!

Judith Ellis said...

"Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus."

--Phillipians 2:5

I appreciate you, Marion.

Marion said...

Thank you, Judith. I Corinthians, Chapter 13 comes to my mind, one of my favorite chapters of the New Testament:

"The Greatest Gift, Love"

1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.

4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up;

5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil;

6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth;

7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

8 Love never fails.

But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.

9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part.

10 But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.

11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.

13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Beautiful words and full of wisdom! Blessings!!

Judith Ellis said...

Thanks, Marion. This passage is one of my very favorites too.