These Poems, She Said

By Robert Bringhurst b. 1946 Robert Bringhurst
These poems, these poems,
these poems, she said, are poems
with no love in them. These are the poems of a man   
who would leave his wife and child because   
they made noise in his study. These are the poems   
of a man who would murder his mother to claim   
the inheritance. These are the poems of a man   
like Plato, she said, meaning something I did not   
comprehend but which nevertheless
offended me. These are the poems of a man
who would rather sleep with himself than with women,   
she said. These are the poems of a man
with eyes like a drawknife, with hands like a pickpocket’s   
hands, woven of water and logic
and hunger, with no strand of love in them. These   
poems are as heartless as birdsong, as unmeant   
as elm leaves, which if they love love only   
the wide blue sky and the air and the idea
of elm leaves. Self-love is an ending, she said,   
and not a beginning. Love means love
of the thing sung, not of the song or the singing.   
These poems, she said....
                                       You are, he said,
beautiful.
                That is not love, she said rightly.

Robert Bringhurst, “These Poems, She Said” from The Beauty of the Weapons: Selected Poems 1972-1982. Copyright © 1982 by Robert Bringhurst. Used by permission of Copper Canyon Press, www.coppercanyonpress.org.

Source: Selected Poems 1972-1982 (Copper Canyon Press, 1982)

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Poet Robert Bringhurst b. 1946

POET’S REGION Canada

Subjects Relationships, Arts & Sciences, Love, Poetry & Poets, Realistic & Complicated

 Robert  Bringhurst

Biography

One of Canada’s most revered poets, Robert Bringhurst is also a typographer, translator, cultural historian, and linguist. Born in 1946, he studied comparative literature at Indiana University and poetry at the University of British Columbia. Bringhurst’s own poetry draws on his experiences with Native American myths and storytelling, as well as his training in philosophy, comparative literature, and linguistics. Bringhurst’s . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Relationships, Arts & Sciences, Love, Poetry & Poets, Realistic & Complicated

POET’S REGION Canada

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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