Leviathan

By George Oppen 1908–1984 George Oppen
Truth also is the pursuit of it:
Like happiness, and it will not stand.

Even the verse begins to eat away
In the acid. Pursuit, pursuit;

A wind moves a little,
Moving in a circle, very cold.

How shall we say?
In ordinary discourse—

We must talk now. I am no longer sure of the words,
The clockwork of the world. What is inexplicable

Is the ‘preponderance of objects.’ The sky lights
Daily with that predominance

And we have become the present.

We must talk now. Fear
Is fear. But we abandon one another.

George Oppen, “Leviathan” from New Collected Poems. Copyright © 1965 by George Oppen. Reprinted by permission of New Directions Publishing Corporation.

Source: New Collected Poems (New Directions Publishing Corporation, 2008)

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Poet George Oppen 1908–1984

SCHOOL / PERIOD Objectivist

Subjects Relationships, Arts & Sciences, Philosophy, Social Commentaries

 George  Oppen

Biography

"George Oppen," wrote Michael Adams in The Dictionary of Literary Biography, "had one of the most unusual careers of any American poet." Oppen was one of the chief exponents of Objectivism, a school of poetry that emphasized simplicity and clarity over formal structure and rhyme. He established the movement with William Carlos Williams, Louis Zukosfky, and other poets in the early 1930s. In 1932 Oppen helped found the . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Relationships, Arts & Sciences, Philosophy, Social Commentaries

SCHOOL / PERIOD Objectivist

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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