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By Robert Creeley

Yesterday I wanted to

speak of it, that sense above   

the others to me

important because all


that I know derives

from what it teaches me.   

Today, what is it that   

is finally so helpless,


different, despairs of its own   

statement, wants to

turn away, endlessly

to turn away.


If the moon did not …

no, if you did not

I wouldn’t either, but   

what would I not


do, what prevention, what   

thing so quickly stopped.   

That is love yesterday   

or tomorrow, not


now. Can I eat

what you give me. I

have not earned it. Must   

I think of everything


as earned. Now love also   

becomes a reward so

remote from me I have

only made it with my mind.


Here is tedium,

despair, a painful

sense of isolation and   

whimsical if pompous


self-regard. But that image   

is only of the mind’s

vague structure, vague to me   

because it is my own.


Love, what do I think

to say. I cannot say it.

What have you become to ask,   

what have I made you into,


companion, good company,   

crossed legs with skirt, or   

soft body under

the bones of the bed.


Nothing says anything   

but that which it wishes   

would come true, fears   

what else might happen in


some other place, some   

other time not this one.   

A voice in my place, an   

echo of that only in yours.


Let me stumble into

not the confession but   

the obsession I begin with   

now. For you


also (also)

some time beyond place, or   

place beyond time, no   

mind left to


say anything at all,

that face gone, now.

Into the company of love   

it all returns.


Robert Creeley, “For Love” from Selected Poems of Robert Creeley. Copyright © 1991 by the Regents of the University of California. Reprinted with the permission of the University of California Press, www.ucpress.edu.

Source: Selected Poems (1991)

Poet Bio

Before he was five, Robert Creeley had lost the use of an eye in a freak accident and his father to a heart attack; not surprisingly, his poetry conveys an acute sense of the body’s frailty and the anguish of isolation, yet it also records the joys of love and family life. His verse is instantly recognizable—brief in its individual lines and overall length, and often so terse as to be opaque—while concerned to trace the puzzlements of the mind and heart as they move through experiences of intense intimacy. Much influenced by jazz musicians and action painters, Creeley stressed the process of writing over any finished product.

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