Bolero

By Gerald Stern b. 1925 Gerald Stern
So one day when the azalea bush was firing
away and the Japanese maple was roaring I
came into the kitchen full of daylight and
turned on my son’s Sony sliding over the
lacquered floor in my stocking feet for it was
time to rattle the canisters and see what
sugar and barley have come to and how Bolero
sounds after all these years and if I’m loyal
still and when did I have a waist that thin?
And if my style was too nostalgic and where
were you when I was burning alive, nightingale?   

Gerald Stern, "Bolero," from Everything is Burning, published by W.W. Norton. Copyright 2005 by Gerald Stern. Reprinted by permission of the author.

Source: Poetry (December 2004).

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This poem originally appeared in the December 2004 issue of Poetry magazine

December 2004
 Gerald  Stern

Biography

Gerald Stern has been called an “American original,” “a sometimes comic, sometimes tragic visionary,” and, by his friend Stanley Kunitz, “the wilderness in American poetry.” Over dozens of books, and decades of teaching and activism, Stern has emerged as one of America’s most celebrated and irascible poets. “If I could choose one poem of mine to explain my stance,” Stern told Contemporary Poets, “it would be ‘The One Thing in . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Growing Old, Home Life, Music, Arts & Sciences, Relationships, Living

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