Gnomic Verses

By Robert Creeley 1926–2005 Robert Creeley
loop

Down the road Up the hill Into the house
Over the wall Under the bed After the fact
By the way Out of the woods Behind the times
In front of the door Between the lines Along the path


echo

In the way it was in the street   

it was in the back it was
in the house it was in the room
it was in the dark it was


fat fate

Be at That this
Come as If when   
Stay or Soon then   
Ever happen It will


look

Particular pleasures weather measures or   
Dimestore delights faced with such sights.


here

Outstretched innocence   
Implacable distance
Lend me a hand
See if it reaches


time

Of right Of wrong Of up Of down   
Of who Of how Of when Of one   
Of then Of if Of in Of out
Of feel Of friend Of it Of now


moral

Now the inevitable   
As in tales of woe   
The inexorable toll   
It takes, it takes.


eat

Head on backwards   
Face front neck’s
Pivot bunched flesh   
Drops jowled brunch.


toffee

Little bit patted pulled   
Stretched set let cool.


case

Whenas To for
If where From in
Past place Stated want   
Gain granted Planned or


have a heart

Have heart Find head   
Feel pattern Be wed   
Smell water See sand   
Oh boy Ain’t life grand


oh oh

Now and then   
Here and there   
Everywhere
On and on


winter

Season’s upon us   
Weather alarms us   
Snow riot peace   
Leaves struck fist.


duty

Let little Linda allow litigation
Foster faith’s fantasy famously
And answer all apt allegations
Handmake Harold’s homework handsomely


gotcha

Passion’s particulars   
Steamy hands
Unwashed warmth   
One night stands


west acton summer

Cat’s rats, Mother’s brother   
Vacation’s patience, loud clouds   
Fields far, seize trees
School’s rules, friends tend   
Lawn’s form, barn’s beams   
Hay’s daze, swallows follow   
Sun’s sunk, moon mends   
Echo’s ending, begin again


far

“Far be it from Harry to alter the sense of drama inherent in the almighty tuxedo ...”

“Far be it from Harry”   
Sit next to Mary,
See how the Other   
Follows your Mother


pat’s

Pat’s place
Pattern’s face   
Aberrant fact   
Changes that


four’s

Four’s forms
Back and forth
Feel way Hindside
Paper route Final chute


sentences

Indefatigably alert when hit still hurt.   
Whenever he significantly alters he falters.   
Wondrous weather murmured mother.   
Unforgettable twist in all such synthesis.   
Impeccably particular you always were.   
Laboriously enfeebled he still loved people.


words

Driving to the expected   
Place in mind in
Place of mind in
Driving to the expected


here

You have to reach   
Out more it’s
Farther away from   
You it’s here


data

Exoneration’s face
Echoed distaste
Privileged repetition   
Makeshift’s decision—

     •

Now and then
Behind time’s
Emptied scene and   
Memory’s mistakes—

     •

You are here   
And there too   
Being but one   
Of you—


scatter

All that’s left of coherence.


echo again

Statement keep talking
Train round bend over river into distance


door

Everything’s before you   
were here.


summer ’38

Nubble’s Light a sort   
of bump I thought—
a round insistent
small place

not like this—
it was a bluff,   
tip on the edge   
of the sea.


air

Lift up so you’re   
Floating out
Of your skin at
The edge but
Mostly up seeming   
Free of the ground.


echoes

Think of the
Dance you could do   
One legged man
Two legged woman.


there

Hard to be unaddressed—
Empty to reflection—
Take the road east—
Be where it is.


echoes

Sunrise always first—
That light—is it
Round the earth—what   
Simple mindedness.


star

Where   
It is
There
You are

     •

Out there   
In here   
Now it is   
Was also

     •

Up where   
It will be   
And down   
Again

     •

No one   
Point   
To it   
Ever

Robert Creeley, "Gnomic Verses" from The Collected Poems of Robert Creeley, 1975-2005. Copyright © 2006 by Robert Creeley.  Reprinted by permission of University of California Press.

Source: The Collected Poems of Robert Creeley, 1975-2005. (University of California Press, 2006)

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Poet Robert Creeley 1926–2005

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

SCHOOL / PERIOD Black Mountain

Subjects Time & Brevity, Nature, Stars, Planets, Heavens, Living

 Robert  Creeley

Biography

Once known primarily for his association with the group called the “Black Mountain Poets,” at the time of his death in 2005, Robert Creeley was widely recognized as one of the most important and influential American poets of the twentieth century. His poetry is noted for both its concision and emotional power. Albert Mobilio, writing in the Voice Literary Supplement, observed: “Creeley has shaped his own audience. The much . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Time & Brevity, Nature, Stars, Planets, Heavens, Living

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

SCHOOL / PERIOD Black Mountain

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