Poem Beginning with a Line by Milosz

By Mark Irwin Mark Irwin
“The most beautiful bodies are like transparent glass.”
They are bodies of the selfless or of those newly
dead. What appears transparent is really flame
burning so brightly it appears like glass. What
you’re looking through is the act of giving: One
thing in life needed desperately, given to another,
or perhaps life itself. The most beautiful bodies
are not transparent, but sometimes the color
of lead, like the elephant whom a child with some
peanuts lifts by the trunk in his hand in the swirling
dust, so that it appears he has lifted a monument
or a city with all its pain. The bodies that seem
transparent are made of an ice so pure it appears
to be glass sweating, where you, desiring another,
glimpse your own face that weighs nothing and is burning.

Source: Poetry (May 2011).

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This poem originally appeared in the May 2011 issue of Poetry magazine

May 2011
 Mark  Irwin

Biography

Mark Irwin is the author of six collections of poetry, two volumes of translation, and a recently completed book of essays on contemporary American poetry entitled “Monster.” His most recent book is American Urn: New & Selected Poems (1987–2011). He lives in Colorado.

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, The Body, Love, Desire

POET’S REGION U.S., Northwestern

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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