A Reason

By Barbara Guest 1920–2006 Barbara Guest
That is why I am here
not among the ibises. Why
the permanent city parasol
covers even me.

             It was the rains
in the occult season. It was the snows
on the lower slopes. It was water
and cold in my mouth.

            A lack of shoes
on what appeared to be cobbles
which were still antique

           Well wild wild whatever
in wild more silent blue
 
           the vase grips the stems
petals fall    the chrysanthemum darkens

           Sometimes this mustard feeling
clutches me also. My sleep is reckoned
in straws

            Yet I wake up
and am followed into the street.

Barbara Guest, “A Reason” from Selected Poems (Los Angeles: Sun & Moon Press, 1995). Reprinted with the permission of the author.

Source: Selected Poems (Sun & Moon Press, 1995)

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Poet Barbara Guest 1920–2006

SCHOOL / PERIOD New York School

Subjects Social Commentaries, Cities & Urban Life, Life Choices

 Barbara  Guest

Biography

Barbara Guest rose to prominence in the late 1950s as a member of an informal group of writers known as the New York school of poets whose membership included Frank O'Hara, John Ashbery, and James Schuyler. Their innovative approach to poetry was influenced by modern art, especially surrealism and abstract expressionism. Guest drew on her own background in art (she worked for Art News magazine in the 1950s) to create poetry . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Social Commentaries, Cities & Urban Life, Life Choices

SCHOOL / PERIOD New York School

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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