Convergences

By Donald Hall b. 1928 Donald Hall
At sixteen he dismisses his mother with contempt.
She hears with dread the repulsive wave’s approach
and her fifty-year-old body smothers under water.

An old man loses half his weight, as if by stealth,
but finds in his shed his great-grandfather’s knobbly cane,
and hobbles toward youth beside the pond’s swart water.

She listens to the dun-colored whippoorwill’s
three-beat before dawn, and again when dusk
enters the cornfield parched and wanting water.

He imagines but cannot bring himself to believe
that the dead woman enters his house disguised
or that the young rabbi made vin rouge from water.

Within the poem he and she—hot, cold, and luke—
converge into flesh of vowels and consonant bones
or into uncanny affection of earth for water.

Source: Poetry (January 2010).

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This poem originally appeared in the January 2010 issue of Poetry magazine

January 2010
 Donald  Hall

Biography

Considered one of the major American poets of his generation, Donald Hall’s poetry explores the longing for a more bucolic past and reflects the poet’s abiding reverence for nature. Although Hall gained early success with his first collection, Exiles and Marriages (1955), his more recent poetry is generally regarded as the best of his career. Often compared favorably with such writers as James Dickey, Robert Bly, and James . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Parenthood, Growing Old, Time & Brevity, Relationships, Family & Ancestors

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

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