By Donald Revell b. 1954 Donald Revell
Before anything could happen,
flecks of real gold
on her mouth, her eyes more
convex than any others,
the ground spoke, the barrier
of lilacs spoke. What sang
in the black tree was entirely gold.
Her chair was empty.

New absence is a great figure
dark as the underskin of fruit.
At the center of the earth
it surrounds and amplifies the dead
whose music never slows down.

She came by car. I came by train.
We embraced. It was
at the foot of a hill steeply
crowned with apples
and a ruined fortress.
Imagination did not make the world.

Sweetness is the entire portion.
Before anything could happen,
happiness, the necessary
precondition of the world,
spoke and flowered over the hill.

When I was in Hell
on the ruined palisade,
either mystery or loneliness
kissed my open eyes.

It felt hugely convex, seeing
and immediately forgetting.

By contrast, what I imagined
later was nothing.

“Lyre” by Donald Revell from Beautiful Shirt (Wesleyan University Press, 1994). © 1994 by Donald Revell and reprinted by permission of Wesleyan University Press,

Source: Beautiful Shirt (Wesleyan University Press, 1994)

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Poet Donald Revell b. 1954

POET’S REGION U.S., Southwestern

Subjects Relationships, Love, Men & Women

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Donald  Revell


Born in the Bronx, Donald Revell received his PhD at SUNY Buffalo and is the author of more than a dozen books of poetry, translations, and essays. His recent books include Tantivy (2012) and the prose work, Essay: A Critical Memoir (2015).Steeped in the work of Henry David Thoreau and William Carlos Williams, Revell’s poetry is “seriously Christian but not doctrinaire, mystical without setting intellect aside, angry over . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Relationships, Love, Men & Women

POET’S REGION U.S., Southwestern

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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