What the Bones Know 

By Carolyn Kizer 1925–2014 Carolyn Kizer
Remembering the past
And gloating at it now,
I know the frozen brow
And shaking sides of lust
Will dog me at my death
To catch my ghostly breath.
 
          I think that Yeats was right,
          That lust and love are one.
          The body of this night
          May beggar me to death,
          But we are not undone
          Who love with all our breath.
 
                     I know that Proust was wrong,
                     His wheeze: love, to survive,
                     Needs jealousy, and death
                     And lust, to make it strong
                     Or goose it back alive.
                     Proust took away my breath.
 
                                 The later Yeats was right
                                 To think of sex and death
                                 And nothing else. Why wait
                                 Till we are turning old?
                                 My thoughts are hot and cold.
                                 I do not waste my breath.
 

Carolyn Kizer, "What the Bones Know" from Cool, Calm & Collected: Poems 1960-2000. Copyright © 2001 by Carolyn Kizer.  Reprinted by permission of Copper Canyon Press, P. O. Box 271, Port Townsend, WA  98368-0271, www.coppercanyonpress.org.

Source: Cool, Calm & Collected: Poems 1960-2000 (Copper Canyon Press, 2001)

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Poet Carolyn Kizer 1925–2014

POET’S REGION U.S., Northwestern

Subjects Living, The Body, Time & Brevity, Arts & Sciences, Poetry & Poets

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

 Carolyn  Kizer

Biography

Poet, essayist, and translator Carolyn Kizer was born in 1925 in Spokane, Washington. Raised by a prominent lawyer and highly educated mother, Kizer’s childhood was suffused with poetry. Of her development as a poet, she noted to the Poetry Society of America: “My parents were both romantics: father favored the poems of Keats; mother went for Whitman. No evening of my childhood passed without my being read to. But I think my . . .

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SUBJECT Living, The Body, Time & Brevity, Arts & Sciences, Poetry & Poets

POET’S REGION U.S., Northwestern

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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