Skip to main content
By Alice Notley

The Goddess who created this passing world

Said Let there be lightbulbs & liquefaction

Life spilled out onto the street, colors whirled

Cars & the variously shod feet were born

And the past & future & I born too

Light as airmail paper away she flew

To Annapurna or Mt. McKinley

Or both but instantly

Clarified, composed, forever was I

Meant by her to recognize a painting

As beautiful or a movie stunning

And to adore the finitude of words

And understand as surfaces my dreams

Know the eye the organ of affection

And depths to be inflections

Of her voice & wrist & smile


Alice Notley, “The Goddess Who Created This Passing World” from Selected Poems (Talisman House, 1993). Copyright © 1993 by Alice Notley. Reprinted with the permission of the author.

Source: Selected Poems (1993)

  • Religion

Poet Bio

Alice Notley
Alice Notley is a prolific writer and visual artist whose experimental works often collapse traditional boundaries between genres. Born in Bisbee, Arizona and raised in Needles, California—desert places which she evokes in her poetry—Notley became associated with The New York School of poets and painters during her marriage to the legendary Lower East Side poet Ted Berrigan; their two sons, Anselm and Edmund, are also poets. 

More Poems about Religion

Browse poems about Religion