[A straight rain is rare...]

By Lyn Hejinian b. 1941 Lyn Hejinian
A straight rain is rare and doors have suspicions
and I hold that names begin histories
and that the last century was a cruel one. I am pretending
to be a truck in Mexico. I am a woman with a long neck and a good burden
and I waddle efficiently. Activity never sleeps and no tale of crumbling cliffs
can be a short one. I have to shift weight favorably. Happiness
can’t be settled. I brush my left knee twice, my right once,
my left twice again and in that way advance. The alphabet
and the cello can represent horses but I can only pretend
to be a dog slurping pudding. After the 55 minutes it takes to finish
my legs tremble. All is forgiven. Yesterday is going the way of tomorrow
indirectly and the heat of the sun is inadequate at this depth. I see
the moon. The verbs ought and can lack infinity and somewhere
between 1957 when the heat of the dry sun naughtily struck me
and now when my secrets combine in the new order of cold rains
and night winds a lot has happened. Long phrases
are made up of short phrases that bear everything “in vain” or “all
in fun” “for your sake” and “step by step” precisely. I too can spring.

Lyn Hejinian, “[A straight rain is rare...]” 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, Language & Linguistics, Poetry & Poets

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, Language & Linguistics, Poetry & Poets


SCHOOL / PERIOD Language Poetry

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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