Sunday, March 14, 2010

Last Night by Sharon Olds

Last Night
by Sharon Olds

The next day, I am almost afraid.
Love?  It was more like dragonflies
in the sun, 100 degrees at noon,
the ends of their abdomens stuck together, I
close my eyes when I remember.  I hardly
knew myself, like something twisting and
twisting out of a chrysalis,
enormous, without language, all
head, all shut eyes, and the humming
like madness, the way they writhe away,
and do not leave, back, back,
away, back.  Did I know you?  No kiss,
no tenderness---more like killing, death-grip
holding to life, genitals
like violent hands clasped tight
barely moving, more like being closed
in a great jaw and eaten, and the screaming
I groan to remember it, and when we started
to die, then I refuse to remember,
the way a drunkard forgets.  After,
you held my hands extremely hard as my
body moved in shudders like the ferry when its
axle is loosed past engagement, you kept me
sealed exactly against you, our hairlines
wet as the arc of a gateway after
a cloudburst, you secured me in your arms till I slept---
that was love, and we woke in the morning
clasped, fragrant, buoyant, that was
the morning after love.



Woman in a Window said...

My god, Marion. Sharon Olds is one of my new favorites. She is unlike anyone else. To me, she writes as it is supposed to be written, so that it can be felt and understood with the fluidity of metaphor through all. She's fricken brilliant!

Have a great Sunday.


Rosaria Williams said...

I don't know Sharon Olds; but this poem of hers speaks volumes, laying out carefully the struggles of being. Thank you for printing it here and for us to drink of it.

Unspoken said...

Wow. Wow. Powerfully told. Thanks for another introduction.

quid said...


I have never read this Olds poem before and it blew me away (loved the reference to dragonflies!). A perfect picture to go along!

I have the William Stafford book you are reading. Let me know what you think of it, it's a favorite.


all ways 11 o'clock said...

I do love Sharon Olds work very much.
thank you for posting

Marion said...

Erin, yes, Sharon Olds just cannot write a bad poem! I stumbled upon this one in the anthology I sent you, "Staying Alive: Real Poems for Unreal Times". It's a treasure trove of brilliant poetry! Love & Blessings!

Lakeviewer, her poems are just amazing. You really should look some up online. You're in for a real treat. Blessings!

Amy, she's one of my favorite poets ever and never disappoints me. Blessings!

Quid, of course the word 'dragonflies' jumped out at me when I was thumbing through the book and I had to read the poem. I'm glad I did. I'm on my second or third reading of the Stafford book. I'll tell you right now, it's freaking awesome. He's a master of the craft and a fabulous teacher, too. Blessings!

Pam said...

My favorite poet and one of my muses! I've got every book of poetry she ever wrote.

Her poetry has always spoken to me.

I fell in love with her poetry in the early 80s.

Kelly said...

I always think of you AND my sister when I see anything by Sharon Olds. Powerful poetry!!

Beautiful photo!

ds said...

Wonderful poem. I like Sharon Olds, too. Thank you.

Marion said...

Pammie, isn't she have a poet that strong & reliable, who touches your heart at an early age, then helps carry you thoughout life. We have that bond in common. Her poetry has carried me through many a trial. Love & Blessings, my Texas friend...

(My son-in-law has an interview in Dallas for his plastic surgery residency....I'm praying they get that close to home!) xoxoxo

Kelly, thank you. I love that photo, too. Love & Blessings!

DS, thanks for stopping by. I love Lisa See and can't wait to read her latest book. Blessings!

Snowbrush said...

If this were written straight across, I would think it was prose. I guess I don't get the distinction.


LOVED this piece! now off to read more of her work! have a fabulous day, lady!

Samael said...

This is a poem I had to read for my poetry workshop class. Really sensual and vivid, I think I need to dive into the language more and really pick it apart to find the elements of beauty.