The World Had Fled

By Rachel Wetzsteon 1967–2009 Rachel Wetzsteon
The world had fled, with all its silly cares
and questionable aches, and in one swoon
we rose above its stupefying airs
like flying lovesick pigs up to the moon.
     In that blue light where two lives equaled all,
     our souls looked down upon a spinning ball.

The world returned, and this was a surprise
I raged against like someone on a rack,
telling the sun, tears clouding my stunned eyes,
give us our splendid isolation back.
     I craved third rails, a shot of something strong
     when I found out it doesn’t last for long.

The world came back and stayed, pain never ended,
but when the aches and cares begged for a hand,
grew softer in the light we’d made and tended,
I finally began to understand
    love’s widening third stage, and of the three
    this was the most outstanding ecstasy.

Source: Poetry (October 2010).


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

October 2010
 Rachel  Wetzsteon


Born in Manhattan, poet and editor Rachel Wetzsteon received degrees from Yale University, Johns Hopkins University, and Columbia University. She made her home in the Morningside Heights neighborhood of Manhattan, which is the setting for many of her formally assured poems. Influenced by Charles Baudelaire, Soren Kierkegaard, and Philip Larkin, Wetzsteon infused her urban and emotional landscapes with a dry wit. As critic Adam . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Disappointment & Failure, Love

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza, Syllabic

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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