What I Saw

By Robert Duncan 1919–1988 Robert Duncan
The white peacock roosting   
might have been Christ,

         featherd robe of Osiris,


the radiant bird, a sword-flash,

         percht in the tree


and the other,    the fumed-glass slide

       —were like night and day,


the slit of an eye opening in

         time

vertical to the horizon

Robert Duncan, “What I Saw” from Bending the Bow. Copyright © by Robert Duncan. Reprinted with the permission of New Directions Publishing Corporation.

Source: Bending the Bow (1968)

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Poet Robert Duncan 1919–1988

POET’S REGION U.S., Western

SCHOOL / PERIOD Black Mountain

Subjects Time & Brevity, Religion, Pets, Living, Relationships

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Robert  Duncan

Biography

Described by Kenneth Rexroth as “one of the most accomplished, one of the most influential” of the postwar American poets, Robert Duncan was an important part of both the Black Mountain school of poetry, led by Charles Olson, and the San Francisco Renaissance, whose other members included poets Jack Spicer and Robin Blaser. A distinctive voice in American poetry, Duncan’s idiosyncratic poetics drew on myth, occultism, . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Time & Brevity, Religion, Pets, Living, Relationships

POET’S REGION U.S., Western

SCHOOL / PERIOD Black Mountain

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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