Readings — From the November 2017 issue


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By George Oppen (1908–84), from 21 Poems, a collection of previously unpublished works that was released in August by New Directions. Oppen was the author of seven volumes of poetry. He won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1969.

This room,
                 the circled wind
Straight air of dawn
                                   low noon
The darkness. Not within
The mound of these
Is anything
To fit the prying of your lips,
Or feed their wide bright flowering.

And yet will movement so exactly fit
Your limbs —
                    As snow
Fills the vague intricacies of the day, unlit
Before; so will your arms
                                                    Fall in the space
Assigned to gesture

                 (In the momentless air,
                 The distant adventurous snow)

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