Heather McHugh

(20 August 1948 / San Diego, California)

Stroke


The literate are ill-prepared for this
snap in the line of life:
the day turns a trick
of twisted tongues and is
untiable, the month by no mere root
moon-ridden, and the yearly eloquences yielding more
than summer's part of speech times four. We better learn

the buried meaning in the grave: here
all we see of its alphabet is tracks
of predators, all we know of its tense
the slow seconds and quick centuries
of sex. Unletter the past and then
the future comes to terms. One late fall day
I stumbled from the study and I found
the easy symbols of the living room revised:

my shocked senses flocked to the window's reference
where now all backyard attitudes were deep
in memory: the landscapes I had known too well-
the picnic table and the hoe, the tricycle, the stubborn
shrub-the homegrown syllables
of shapely living-all

lay sanded and camelled by foreign snow...

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

Do you like this poem?
0 person liked.
0 person did not like.

Read poems about / on: future, memory, snow, summer, moon, life

Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Comments about this poem (Stroke by Heather McHugh )

Enter the verification code :

  • Michael Tugendhat (7/18/2010 12:10:00 PM)

    Your descriptions here are marvelous. I loved the fluidity of line and use of heavy imagery. I look forward to reading more of your works. (Report) Reply

Read all 1 comments »

Top Poems

  1. Phenomenal Woman
    Maya Angelou
  2. The Road Not Taken
    Robert Frost
  3. If You Forget Me
    Pablo Neruda
  4. Still I Rise
    Maya Angelou
  5. Dreams
    Langston Hughes
  6. Annabel Lee
    Edgar Allan Poe
  7. If
    Rudyard Kipling
  8. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
    Maya Angelou
  9. Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
    Robert Frost
  10. Invictus
    William Ernest Henley

PoemHunter.com Updates

New Poems

  1. Wolf in the Heart, mazHur Butt
  2. I burped after I wrote this, Jena Crowe
  3. REMOVE Jefferson Carter, Richard Thripp
  4. Damned if I do damned if you don't, Mark Heathcote
  5. Black Gloves, Joseph Narusiewicz
  6. Even though late, hasmukh amathalal
  7. What a curtain Bisbee has, Amy Michelle Mosier
  8. The Shockers, Sandra Feldman
  9. Rather than talking to walls, Amy Michelle Mosier
  10. July 11,1991, Amy Michelle Mosier

Poem of the Day

poet Edgar Allan Poe

Kind solace in a dying hour!
Such, father, is not (now) my theme-
I will not madly deem that power
Of Earth may shrive me of the sin
...... Read complete »

 

Modern Poem

poet Jacques Prevert

 

Member Poem

[Hata Bildir]