[The water was rising...]

By Lyn Hejinian b. 1941 Lyn Hejinian
The water was rising, I got up on the bed
Still wearing the Hawaiian shirt he had on yesterday
He used his thoughts to draw a rudimentary circle on the wall
Hitting Beirut and killing 22 civilians
But now go the bells, and we are ready
Novelty is no better than repetition
That graces the walls of toilet stalls with hooey
And comparison with the dead—their slimy cruelty—and meatballs
Perched like ghostly birds
Believing in old men’s lies, then too late unbelieving
There’s rough life in the rust
Long-buried whore’s eggs, razor-clams with shells
Pirates dressed in pink and pit-bulls on parade
With power to extend the longevity of learned fear in the mouse
And a heron on the horizon many sewing-days ago

Jane, Jane, ascend the stairs
Of the river’s mouth at the year’s turn
Thus predicting the shock to the tale that so entertains grown children
Of the animals that have nearly all forsaken us

Lyn Hejinian, “[The water was rising...]” 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

POET’S REGION U.S., Western

SCHOOL / PERIOD Language Poetry

Subjects Living, The Mind, Arts & Sciences, Language & Linguistics, Social Commentaries, War & Conflict

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Lyn  Hejinian

Biography

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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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, The Mind, Arts & Sciences, Language & Linguistics, Social Commentaries, War & Conflict

POET’S REGION U.S., Western

SCHOOL / PERIOD Language Poetry

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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