Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Zero Hour

Stephen Dunn is one of the first poets I got into and really wanted to fully understand/internalize. He is honest and very brilliant -- but often heartbreaking. His collection Everything Else in The World is one of my most loved possessions, although this poem isn't in it. He might seem irrelevant to a younger crowd, because most of what he writes is on loss, getting older, and looking back on your life. But for some reason, I still find his voice extraordinarily familiar, witty, and very real.

Zero Hour
Stephen Dunn

It was the hour of simply nothing.
not a single desire in my western heart,
no ancient system
of breathing and postures,
no big idea justifying what I felt.

There was even an absence of despair.

"Anything goes," I said to myself.
All the clocks were high. Above them,
hundreds of stars flickering if, if, if.
Everywhere in the universe, it seemed,
some next thing was gathering itself.

I started to feel something.
but it was nothing more than a moment
passing into another, or was it less
eloquent than that, purely muscular,
some meaningless twitch?

I'd let someone else make it rhyme.

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