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By Mark Strand

In a field
I am the absence
of field.
This is
always the case.
Wherever I am
I am what is missing.

When I walk
I part the air
and always
the air moves in   
to fill the spaces
where my body’s been.

We all have reasons
for moving.
I move
to keep things whole.

Mark Strand, "Keeping Things Whole" from Selected Poems. Copyright © 1979, 1980 by Mark Strand.  Used by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint of the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. All rights reserved. 

Source: Selected Poems (Alfred A. Knopf, 2002)

  • Living
  • Nature

Poet Bio

Mark Strand
Studying painting until turning to poetry in his twenties, Mark Strand moved from one art to another without premeditation. Strand’s early poetry explores consciousness and is deeply focused on observing the world as well as understanding the darker aspects of life. His poem “Reasons for Moving,” which comes out of his first book (published in 1968) under the same title, makes us aware of something typically cast to the unconscious. Strand’s careful use of structure, diction, and syntax all contribute to the elemental sense of movement conveyed in the poem. He won the Pulitzer Prize for one of his more recent volumes of poetry, A Blizzard of One (1998). See More By This Poet

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