Inside My Head

By Robert Creeley 1926–2005 Robert Creeley
inside my head

Inside my head a common room,   
a common place, a common tune,
a common wealth, a common doom

inside my head. I close my eyes.   
The horses run. Vast are the skies,
and blue my passing thoughts’ surprise

inside my head. What is this space   
here found to be, what is this place
if only me? Inside my head, whose face?


the tools

First there, it proves to be still here.   
Distant as seen, it comes then to be near.   
I found it here and there unclear.

What if my hand had only been   
extension of an outside reaching in
to work with common means to change me then?

All things are matter, yet these seem   
caught in the impatience of a dream,   
locked in the awkwardness they mean.


the swan

Peculiar that swan should mean a sound?
I’d thought of gods and power, and wounds.
But here in the curious quiet this one has settled down.

All day the barking dogs were kept at bay.   
Better than dogs, a single swan, they say,   
will keep all such malignant force away

and so preserve a calm, make pond a swelling lake—
sound through the silent grove a shattering spate   
of resonances, jarring the mind awake.


the rose

Into one’s self come in again,
here as if ever now to once again begin
with beauty’s old, old problem never-ending—

Go, lovely rose ... So was that story told
in some extraordinary place then, once upon a time so old   
it seems an echo now as it again unfolds.

I point to me to look out at the world.
I see the white, white petals of this rose unfold.   
I know such beauty in the world grows cold.


the skull

“Come closer. Now there is nothing left   
either inside or out to gainsay death,”   
the skull that keeps its secrets saith.

The ways one went, the forms that were   
empty as wind and yet they stirred
the heart to its passion, all is passed over.

Lighten the load. Close the eyes.   
Let the mind loosen, the body die,   
the bird fly off to the opening sky.


the star

Such space it comes again to be,   
a room of such vast possibility,   
a depth so great, a way so free.

Life and its person, thinking to find
a company wherewith to keep the time   
a peaceful passage, a constant rhyme,

stumble perforce, must lose their way,   
know that they go too far to stay   
stars in the sky, children at play.

Robert Creeley, "Inside My Head" 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 Stars, Planets, Heavens, Trees & Flowers, Death, Living, Nature, The Mind

 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 Stars, Planets, Heavens, Trees & Flowers, Death, Living, Nature, The Mind

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

SCHOOL / PERIOD Black Mountain

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