Gout

By Lewis Warsh b. 1944 Lewis Warsh
He changes into a bird, and that’s
the only difference. Rain
on the improved sidewalk seems
inspired after so much heat.
Look at the objects
that have already wilted and died.
Someone is losing hair trying
to penetrate the meaning of death—rather
language which postpones dying
is inventing a drug to keep us alive.
Being similar never made this body more true. Bills
for electricity and answering
service are burning inside the hearth.
My dream, to have a hearth and
set an example for fading
youth. The conspicuous peacock
neither turns nor changes,
yet suddently loses its feathers, buckles
in the dust and dies. The
meaning is as fantastic as any truth. Language
invents a painkilling drug for restoring youth—an
occasion inviting feelings which
jolt and never subside. I mean
he is dying again, slowly, as he gains time.

Lewis Warsh, "Gout" from Dreaming as One, published by Corinth Books. Copyright © 1971 by Lewis Warsh. Reprinted by permission of Lewis Warsh.

Source: Dreaming as One (Corinth Books, 1971)

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

Poet Lewis Warsh b. 1944

Subjects Living, Growing Old, Death, The Mind, Time & Brevity, Arts & Sciences, Poetry & Poets, Language & Linguistics

Biography

One of the principal members of the second generation of the New York School poets, Lewis Warsh’s long career has spanned the experimental writing movement on both coasts and produced a wealth of poems, novels, commentaries, translations, and art works. Born in the Bronx, New York, Warsh attended the City College of New York, where he earned both his BA and MA in English. Warsh started writing poetry and fiction as a teenager . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Growing Old, Death, The Mind, Time & Brevity, Arts & Sciences, Poetry & Poets, Language & Linguistics

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.