Wednesday, January 18, 2017

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.


I first posted this poem 8 years ago...EIGHT(!)  The comments!  They were like time travel, to reread them.  So much change in the lives of those who commented...and in mine, too, of course.  Several of my blog friends use whitewashing it...dead and missed so very much.

This remains, and always will be, my favorite Jack Gilbert poem.  xo


erin said...

i'm not sure how he does it. i can't quite understand. still trying, after all these years. and yet he has this power, this ability, as though he were able to enunciate the skeleton of things, the living body inside the living body.

jack gilbert, i love him very much. it took little effort to fall for him completely.

(we were so young then. oh, we were. it might have been twenty years for all that has passed.)

Marion said...

Yes, young! Life turns on a dime... I appreciate you, dearest friend. Poetry is our bond...always! xo