Poem (At night Chinamen jump)

By Frank O'Hara 1926–1966 Frank O'Hara
At night Chinamen jump   
on Asia with a thump

while in our willful way   
we, in secret, play

affectionate games and bruise   
our knees like China’s shoes.

The birds push apples through   
grass the moon turns blue,

these apples roll beneath   
our buttocks like a heath

full of Chinese thrushes   
flushed from China’s bushes.

As we love at night   
birds sing out of sight,

Chinese rhythms beat   
through us in our heat,

the apples and the birds   
move us like soft words,

we couple in the grace   
of that mysterious race.

Frank O’Hara, "Poem (At night Chinamen jump)" from Meditations in an Emergency. Copyright © 1957 by Frank O’Hara. Reprinted with the permission of Grove/Atlantic, Inc., www.groveatlantic.com.

Source: The Collected Poems of Frank O'Hara (1995)

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Poet Frank O'Hara 1926–1966

SCHOOL / PERIOD New York School

Subjects Love, Relationships, Desire

Poetic Terms Couplet

 Frank  O'Hara


Frank O'Hara was a dynamic leader of the "New York School" of poets, a group that included John Ashbery, Barbara Guest, Kenneth Koch, and James Schuyler. The Abstract Expressionist painters in New York City during the 1950s and 1960s used the title, but the poets borrowed it. From the beginning O'Hara's poetry was engaged with the worlds of music, dance, and painting. In that complex of associations he devised an idea of poetic . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Love, Relationships, Desire

SCHOOL / PERIOD New York School

Poetic Terms Couplet

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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