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By Robert Creeley

for Bobbie

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)

  • Living
  • Love
  • Relationships

Poet Bio

Robert Creeley
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. See More By This Poet

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