American Literature · Classic · Collection · Contemporary · Excerpt · Passage · Poetry

Karl Kirchwey

‘What would you have words do?’ a poet asked me,
‘and is it the same thing as what you would have your life do?’
The sounds of their names in my memory:
these things have passed through the air and are no more.
Light, the queen of colors, in a hollow sanctuary.
Yet—not an image, but something in its own right, then.
I have learnt to love you late,
Beauty at once so ancient and so new!
I have learnt to love you late!

—Karl Kirchwey, from “Late Beauty,” At the Palace of Jove (G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 2002)

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