Tapestry

By Charles Simic b. 1938 Charles Simic
It hangs from heaven to earth.
There are trees in it, cities, rivers,   
small pigs and moons. In one corner
the snow falling over a charging cavalry,   
in another women are planting rice.

You can also see:
a chicken carried off by a fox,
a naked couple on their wedding night,
a column of smoke,
an evil-eyed woman spitting into a pail of milk.

What is behind it?
—Space, plenty of empty space.

And who is talking now?
—A man asleep under his hat.

What happens when he wakes up?
—He’ll go into a barbershop.
They’ll shave his beard, nose, ears, and hair,   
To make him look like everyone else.

Charles Simic, “Tapestry” from Charles Simic: Selected Early Poems. Copyright © 1999 by Charles Simic. Reprinted with the permission of George Braziller, Inc.

Source: Charles Simic: Selected Early Poems (George Braziller Inc., 1999)

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Poet Charles Simic b. 1938

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Subjects Painting & Sculpture, Arts & Sciences

Poetic Terms Ekphrasis

 Charles  Simic

Biography

Charles Simic is widely recognized as one of the most visceral and unique poets writing today. Simic’s work has won numerous awards, among them the 1990 Pulitzer Prize, the MacArthur Foundation “genius grant,” the Griffin International Poetry Prize, and, simultaneously, the Wallace Stevens Award and appointment as U.S. Poet Laureate. He taught English and creative writing for over thirty years at the University of New Hampshire. . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Painting & Sculpture, Arts & Sciences

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Poetic Terms Ekphrasis

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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