Rapture

By Galway Kinnell b. 1927 Galway Kinnell
I can feel she has got out of bed.   
That means it is seven a.m.
I have been lying with eyes shut,   
thinking, or possibly dreaming,
of how she might look if, at breakfast,   
I spoke about the hidden place in her   
which, to me, is like a soprano’s tremolo,
and right then, over toast and bramble jelly,
if such things are possible, she came.
I imagine she would show it while trying to conceal it.
I imagine her hair would fall about her face
and she would become apparently downcast,
as she does at a concert when she is moved.
The hypnopompic play passes, and I open my eyes
and there she is, next to the bed,   
bending to a low drawer, picking over   
various small smooth black, white,
and pink items of underwear. She bends   
so low her back runs parallel to the earth,
but there is no sway in it, there is little burden, the day has hardly begun.
The two mounds of muscles for walking, leaping, lovemaking,
lift toward the east—what can I say?
Simile is useless; there is nothing like them on earth.
Her breasts fall full; the nipples
are deep pink in the glare shining up through the iron bars
of the gate under the earth where those who could not love
press, wanting to be born again.   
I reach out and take her wrist
and she falls back into bed and at once starts unbuttoning my pajamas.   
Later, when I open my eyes, there she is again,   
rummaging in the same low drawer.   
The clock shows eight. Hmmm.   
With huge, silent effort of great,
mounded muscles the earth has been turning.
She takes a piece of silken cloth
from the drawer and stands up. Under the falls   
of hair her face has become quiet and downcast,   
as if she will be, all day among strangers,   
looking down inside herself at our rapture.

Galway Kinnell, “Rapture” from A New Selected Poetry. Copyright © 2000 by Galway Kinnell. Reprinted with the permission of Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved, www.houghtonmifflinbooks.com.

Source: A New Selected Poetry (2000)

Discover this poem’s context and related poetry, articles, and media.

Poet Galway Kinnell b. 1927

Subjects Love, Relationships, Desire, Infatuation & Crushes

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Galway  Kinnell

Biography

Galway Kinnell is an award-winning poet best known for poetry that connects the experiences of daily life to much larger poetic, spiritual, and cultural forces. Often focusing on the claims of nature and society on the individual, Kinnell’s poems explore psychological states in precise and sonorous free verse. The New York Times Book Review essayist Morris Dickstein called Kinnell “one of the true master poets of his . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Love, Relationships, Desire, Infatuation & Crushes

Poetic Terms Free Verse

Report a problem with this poem

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.