Lines

I did not have exactly a way of life
but the bee amazed me and the wind’s plenty
was almost believable. Hearing a magpie laugh

through a ghost town in Wyoming, saying Hello
in Cambridge, eating cheese by the frothy Rhine,
leaning from plexiglass over Tokyo,

I was not able to make one life of all
the presences I haunted. Still the bee
amazed me, and I did not care to call

accounts from the wind. Once only, at Pompeii,
I fell into a sleep I understood,
and woke to find I had not lost my way.


John Ciardi, “Lines” from Person to Person (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1964). Used with the permission of the Ciardi Family Publishing Trust.
Source: The Collected Poems of John Ciardi (1997)
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