[But isn’t midnight intermittent]

By Lyn Hejinian b. 1941 Lyn Hejinian
But isn’t midnight intermittent
Or was that just a whispered nine
A snap of blown light low against the flank of a cow
A likeness of something numberless that only I not knowing the sound
            might know
It may have been howled by a circling dog being chastised — threatened —
            by multiples of itself in pursuit of the consolation of knowing that
            everything is real
It was real
I don’t mean midnight — despite horizon, nipple, and fissure
I don’t mean
And yet I do — mean, I mean
A cowering animal woven real
                        please pull over
Kierkegaard says knowledge precedes every act but surely there are acts that
are not preceded by knowledge. Repetitions pass at the door from summer
to winter. Some slowly. Some quickly. Total strangers. Never saw them
before. Can’t picture them now. Umbrellas — strange totalities — upheld,

Lyn Hejinian, “[But isn’t midnight intermittent...]” from The Book of a Thousand Eyes. Copyright © 2012 by Lyn Hejinian. Reprinted by permission of Omnidawn Publishing.

Source: The Book of a Thousand Eyes (Omnidawn Publishing, 2012)

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Poet Lyn Hejinian b. 1941


SCHOOL / PERIOD Language Poetry

Subjects Living, The Mind, Arts & Sciences, Philosophy

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Lyn  Hejinian


A founding figure of the Language writing movement of the 1970s, and an influential force in the world of experimental and avant-garde poetics, Lyn Hejinian’s poetry is characterized by an unusual lyricism and descriptive engagement with the everyday. Like most Language writing, her work enacts a poetics that is theoretically sophisticated. While Language writing is stylistically diverse and, as a movement, difficult to reduce . . .

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SUBJECT Living, The Mind, Arts & Sciences, Philosophy


SCHOOL / PERIOD Language Poetry

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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