Abstract · American Culture · American Literature · Anthology · Classic · Collection · Contemporary · Poetry · The New York School

Frank O’Hara

On a Mountain

Rocks with lichen on,
rattling leaves and rotting snow

I shall live to finish this cigarette
and the turnpike rose up a lesser hill,
gleams the nether pond and the wire towers
       on the horizon.

A foot away in the dead sun
a handkerchief lies dirty in the snow.

I’m smoking a Picayune
“the worst cigarette,” press lips upon
       the handkerchief
       and it is warm.

If you were with me
A sweet and winning word might be heard
       out of me,

the bare trees under and the visible jet planes
the enormous telegraph paths and grassy snow
the pale photographic sky, the tangled air
crackling above heaving marshes into the day

    would all be leaves
around the depth of your voice,
owning me yours, not naturally so, beyond the barrier.

Here is where I
have come so high
to find this true and all the sounds
of lovers, and the pleasant cold.

Frank O’Hara, The Collected Poems of Frank O’Hara. (University of California Press March 31, 1995)

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