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Thursday, February 23, 2006


I just found out that the poet, Barbara Guest, passed away on February 15th, 2006.


I really love her poem "Belgravia." I love it for the leaps it makes near the end of the poem--the poem's personality keeps changing. Who else could write "The brokenhearted bears who tumble in the leaves" and get away with it?

Barbara, I will always be jealous of that line.


I am in love with a man
Who is more fond of his own house
Than many interiors which are, of course, less unique,
But more constructed to the usual sensibility,
Yet unlike those rooms in which he lives
Cannot be filled with crystal objects.

There are embroidered chairs
Made in Berlin to look like cane, very round
And light which do not break, but bend
Ever so slightly, and rock at twilight as the cradle
Rocks itself if given a slight push and a small
Tune can be heard when several of the branches creak.

Many rooms are in his house
And they can all be used for exercise.
There are mileposts cut into the marble,
A block, ten blocks, a mile
For the one who walks here always thinking,
Who finds a meaning at the end of a mile.
And wishes to entomb his discoveries.

I am in love with a man
Who knows himself better than my youth,
My experience or my ability
Trained now to reflect his face
As rims reflect their glasses,
Or as mirrors, filigreed as several European
Capitals have regarded their past
Or which he is the living representative,
Who alone is nervous with history.

I am in love with a man
In this open house of windows,
Locks and balconies,
This man who reflects and considers
The brokenhearted bears who tumble in the leaves.

In the garden which thus has escaped all intruders
There when benches are placed
Side by side, watching separate entrances,
As one might plan an audience
That cannot refrain from turning ever so little
In other directions and witnessing
The completion of itself as seen from all sides,

I am in love with him
Who only among the invited hastens my speech.

--Barbara Guest, from The Location of Things (1960)


Anonymous said...


Thanks for the shout out. I love that poem. I'll call you when I get settled here. Have to go to all kinds of orientation and such. Sylvia and Elizabeth said hi, as did Lorca and Pablo. Get that book out. The spirits are waiting...

Barbara Guest

Anonymous said...

Yeah...I've always liked that line two. She gave mad props to my family.

The Bear