The Journey

By David Ignatow 1914–1997 David Ignatow
I am looking for a past   
I can rely on
in order to look to death   
with equanimity.
What was given me:   
my mother’s largeness   
to protect me,
my father’s regularity
in coming home from work   
at night, his opening the door   
silently and smiling,   
pleased to be back
and the lights on
in all the rooms
through which I could run   
freely or sit at ease
at table and do my homework   
undisturbed: love arranged
as order directed at the next day.   
Going to bed was a journey.

David Ignatow, “The Journey” from Against the Evidence: Selected Poems 1934-1994. Copyright © 1993 by David Ignatow. Reprinted with the permission of Wesleyan University Press.

Source: Against the Evidence: Selected Poems 1934-1994 (Wesleyan University Press, 1993)

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Poet David Ignatow 1914–1997

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Subjects Home Life, Relationships, Living, Youth

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 David  Ignatow


David Ignatow is remembered as a poet who wrote popular verse about the common man and the issues encountered in daily life. In all, he wrote or edited more than twenty-five books and was the recipient of numerous awards, including the Poetry Society of America's Shelley Memorial Prize and Robert Frost Medal, the Bollingen Prize, and the John Steinbeck Award. Early in his career he worked in a butcher shop. He also helped out in . . .

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SUBJECT Home Life, Relationships, Living, Youth

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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