American Culture · American Literature · Anthology · Classic · Collection · Contemporary · Poetry

Jean Garrigue

The thing to do is try for that sweet skin
One gets by staying deep inside a thing.
The image that I have is that of fruit—
The stone within the plum or some such pith
As keeps the slender sphere both firm and sound.
Stay with me, mountain flowers I saw
And battering moth against a wind-dark rock,
Stay with me till you build me all around
The honey and the clove I thought to taste
If lingering long enough I lived and got
Your intangible wild essence in my heart.
And whether that’s by sight or thought
Or staying deep inside an aerial shed
Till imagination makes the heart-leaf vine
Out of damned bald rock, I cannot guess.
The game is worth the candle if there’s flame.

— Jean Garrigue, “Catch What You Can,” Selected Poems: Jean Garrigue, trans. J. D. McClatchy (University of Illinois Press, 1992)

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