George Oppen

(1908-1984 / United States)

Myth Of The Blaze - Poem by George Oppen

night—sky bird’s world
to know to know in my life to know

what I have said to myself

the dark to escape in brilliant highways
of the night sky, finally
why had they not

killed me why did they fire that warning
wounding cannon only the one round I hold a superstition

because of this lost to be lost Wyatt’s
lyric and Rezi’s
running thru my mind
in the destroyed (and guilty) Theatre
of the War I’d cried
and remembered
boyhood degradation other
degradations and this crime I will not recover
from that landscape it will be in my mind
it will fill my mind and this is horrible
death bed pavement the secret taste
of being lost


clown in the birds’
world what names
(but my name)
and my love's name to speak

into the eyes
of the Tyger blaze

of changes ... ‘named

the animals’ name

and name the vigorous dusty strong

animals gather
under the joists the boards older

than they giving
them darkness the gifted

dark tho names the names the ‘little’

words a mountain the cliff

a wave are taxonomy I believe

in the world

because it is
impossible the shack

on the coast

under the eaves
the rain barrel flooding

in the weather and no lights
across rough water illumined
as tho the narrow

end of the funnel what are the names
of the Tyger to speak
to the eyes

of the Tiger blaze
of the tiger who moves in the forest leaving

no scent

but the pine needles’ his eyes blink

in the shack
in the knife-cut
and the opaque


bread each side of the knife

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Poem Submitted: Thursday, April 22, 2010

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