I Hate

By C. K. Williams b. 1936
I hate how this unsummoned sigh-sound, sob-sound,
not sound really, feeling, sigh-feeling, sob-feeling,
keeps rising in me, rasping in me, not in its old disguise
as nostalgia, sweet crazed call of the blackbird;

not as remembrance, grief for so many gone,
nor either that other tangle of recall, regret   
for unredeemed wrongs, errors, omissions,
petrified roots too deep to ever excise;

a mingling rather, a melding, inextricable mesh   
of delight in astonishing being, of being in being,
with a fear of and fear for I can barely think what,
not non-existence, of self, loved ones, love;

not even war, fuck war, sighing for war,
sobbing for war, for no war, peace, surcease;
more than all that, some ground-sound, ground-note,   
sown in us now, that swells in us, all of us,   

echo of love we had, have, for world, for our world,
on which we seem finally mere swarm, mere deluge,
mere matter self-altered to tumult, to noise,
cacophonous blitz of destruction, despoilment,

din from which every emotion henceforth emerges,
and into which falters, slides, sinks, and subsides:
sigh-sound of lament, of remorse; sob-sound of rue,   
of, still, always, ever sadder and sadder sad joy.

Source: Poetry (January 2009).

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This poem originally appeared in the January 2009 issue of Poetry magazine

January 2009
 C. K. Williams

Biography

Hailed by poet Paul Muldoon in the Times Literary Supplement as “one of the most distinguished poets of his generation,” C.K. Williams has created a highly respected body of work, including several collections of original poems, volumes of translations, a book of criticism and a memoir. Williams is especially known as an original stylist; his characteristic line is extraordinarily long, almost prose-like, and emphasizes . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Disappointment & Failure, Sorrow & Grieving, Time & Brevity

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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