By Joanne Kyger b. 1934 Joanne Kyger

              The grasses are light brown
              and the ocean comes in
              long shimmering lines
              under the fleet from last night
              which dozes now in the early morning

Here and there horses graze
              on somebody’s acreage

                               Strangely, it was not my desire

that bade me speak in church to be released
         but memory of the way it used to be in
careless and exotic play

               when characters were promises
      then recognitions.  The world of transformation
is real and not real but trusting.

                            Enough of these lessons?  I mean
didactic phrases to take you in and out of
love’s mysterious bonds?

                      Well I myself am not myself

           and which power of survival I speak
for is not made of houses.

          It is inner luxury, of golden figures
that breathe like mountains do
            and whose skin is made dusky by stars.

Joanne Kyger, “September” from About Now: Collected Poems. Copyright © 2007 by Joanne Kyger, published by the National Poetry Foundation.  Reprinted by permission of Joanne Kyger.

Source: About Now: Collected Poems (National Poetry Foundation, 2007)

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Poet Joanne Kyger b. 1934


Subjects Love, Nature, Animals, Fall, Landscapes & Pastorals, Religion, The Spiritual

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Joanne  Kyger


Associated with the poets of the San Francisco Renaissance, poet Joanne Kyger studied philosophy and literature at the University of California, Santa Barbara, moving to San Francisco in 1957 just before she finished her degree. In San Francisco she attended the Sunday meetings of poets Jack Spicer and Robert Duncan, and moved into the East West House, a communal house for students of Zen Buddhism and Asian studies. She lived in . . .

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SUBJECT Love, Nature, Animals, Fall, Landscapes & Pastorals, Religion, The Spiritual


Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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