Lines

By John Ciardi 1916–1986 John Ciardi
I did not have exactly a way of life
but the bee amazed me and the wind’s plenty
was almost believable. Hearing a magpie laugh

through a ghost town in Wyoming, saying Hello
in Cambridge, eating cheese by the frothy Rhine,
leaning from plexiglass over Tokyo,

I was not able to make one life of all
the presences I haunted. Still the bee
amazed me, and I did not care to call

accounts from the wind. Once only, at Pompeii,
I fell into a sleep I understood,
and woke to find I had not lost my way.

John Ciardi, “Lines” from Person to Person (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1964). Used with the permission of the Ciardi Family Publishing Trust.

Source: The Collected Poems of John Ciardi (1997)

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Poet John Ciardi 1916–1986

Subjects Activities, Travels & Journeys

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

 John  Ciardi

Biography

To millions of Americans, the late John Ciardi was "Mr. Poet, the one who has written, talked, taught, edited, translated, anthologized, criticized, and propelled poetry into a popular, lively art," according to Peter Comer of the Chicago Tribune. Although recognized primarily as a poet and critic, Ciardi's literary endeavors encompassed a vast range of material. From juvenile nonsense poetry to scholarly verse translations, . . .

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SUBJECT Activities, Travels & Journeys

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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