For Love

By Robert Creeley 1926–2005 Robert Creeley

for Bobbie

Yesterday I wanted to
speak of it, that sense above   
the others to me
important because all

that I know derives
from what it teaches me.   
Today, what is it that   
is finally so helpless,

different, despairs of its own   
statement, wants to
turn away, endlessly
to turn away.

If the moon did not ...
no, if you did not
I wouldn’t either, but   
what would I not

do, what prevention, what   
thing so quickly stopped.   
That is love yesterday   
or tomorrow, not

now. Can I eat
what you give me. I
have not earned it. Must   
I think of everything

as earned. Now love also   
becomes a reward so
remote from me I have
only made it with my mind.

Here is tedium,
despair, a painful
sense of isolation and   
whimsical if pompous

self-regard. But that image   
is only of the mind’s
vague structure, vague to me   
because it is my own.

Love, what do I think
to say. I cannot say it.
What have you become to ask,   
what have I made you into,

companion, good company,   
crossed legs with skirt, or   
soft body under
the bones of the bed.

Nothing says anything   
but that which it wishes   
would come true, fears   
what else might happen in

some other place, some   
other time not this one.   
A voice in my place, an   
echo of that only in yours.

Let me stumble into
not the confession but   
the obsession I begin with   
now. For you

also (also)
some time beyond place, or   
place beyond time, no   
mind left to

say anything at all,
that face gone, now.
Into the company of love   
it all returns.

Robert Creeley, “For Love” from Selected Poems of Robert Creeley. Copyright © 1991 by the Regents of the University of California. Reprinted with the permission of the University of California Press, www.ucpress.edu.

Source: Poetry (May 1961).

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This poem originally appeared in the May 1961 issue of Poetry magazine

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May 1961
 Robert  Creeley

Biography

Once known primarily for his association with the group called the “Black Mountain Poets,” at the time of his death in 2005, Robert Creeley was widely recognized as one of the most important and influential American poets of the twentieth century. His poetry is noted for both its concision and emotional power. Albert Mobilio, writing in the Voice Literary Supplement, observed: “Creeley has shaped his own audience. The much . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Love, Marriage & Companionship, Living, Relationships, Realistic & Complicated

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

SCHOOL / PERIOD Black Mountain

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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