It Would

By Alice Notley b. 1945 Alice Notley
it would be that
but only if I knew how
            Could something like   
      that get lost?    no only   
         a little a little lost

      but if only I remember   
      how I mean she or I
         oh a freight train goes by   
    & they always do & did
             I mean a real one too   
         that I’m not on & am it   
                very seriously

         in this serious love world   
       that one
      where something oddly music   
            will pass through your   
                  and it will be me   
             sweet me

Alice Notley, “It Would” from Selected Poems (Talisman House, 1993). Copyright © 1993 by Alice Notley. Reprinted with the permission of the author.

Source: Selected Poems (1993)

Discover this poem’s context and related poetry, articles, and media.

Poet Alice Notley b. 1945

SCHOOL / PERIOD New York School (2nd Generation)

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Alice  Notley


Alice Notley was born in Arizona and grew up in Needles, California. After earning her BA from Barnard College and MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Notley traveled extensively around the US and abroad. In 1972 she married the poet Ted Berrigan and had two sons with him, the poets Edmund and Anselm Berrigan. Active in the New York poetry scene of the 1960s and ‘70s, Notley is often identified with the so-called Second . . .

Continue reading this biography

Report a problem with this poem

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.