Sunday, October 2, 2016

Epilogue by Robert Lowell



Epilogue

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Those bless├Ęd structures, plot and rhyme— 
why are they no help to me now 
I want to make 
something imagined, not recalled? 
I hear the noise of my own voice: 
The painter’s vision is not a lens, 
it trembles to caress the light. 
But sometimes everything I write   
with the threadbare art of my eye 
seems a snapshot, 
lurid, rapid, garish, grouped, 
heightened from life, 
yet paralyzed by fact. 
All’s misalliance. 
Yet why not say what happened? 
Pray for the grace of accuracy 
Vermeer gave to the sun’s illumination 
stealing like the tide across a map 
to his girl solid with yearning. 
We are poor passing facts, 
warned by that to give 
each figure in the photograph 
his living name.

Robert Lowell, “Epilogue” from Day by Day. Copyright © 1977 by Robert Lowell

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