Charles Simic

Charles Simic Poems

The truth is dark under your eyelids.
What are you going to do about it?
The birds are silent; there's no one to ask.
All day long you'll squint at the gray sky.
...

How much death works,
No one knows what a long
Day he puts in. The little
Wife always alone
...

It seemed the kind of life we wanted.
Wild strawberries and cream in the morning.
Sunlight in every room.
The two of us walking by the sea naked.
...

for Hayden Carruth

If you didn't see the six-legged dog,
It doesn't matter.
...

I liked my little hole,
Its window facing a brick wall.
Next door there was a piano.
A few evenings a month
...

Where it says snow
read teeth-marks of a virgin
Where it says knife read
you passed through my bones
...

O crows circling over my head and cawing!
I admit to being, at times,
Suddenly, and without the slightest warning,
Exceedingly happy.
...

Father studied theology through the mail
And this was exam time.
Mother knitted. I sat quietly with a book
Full of pictures. Night fell.
...

Green Buddhas
On the fruit stand.
We eat the smile
And spit out the teeth.
...

Executioner happy to explain
How his wristwatch works
As he shadows me on the street.
I call him that because he is grim and officious
...

St. John of the Cross wore dark glasses
As he passed me on the street.
St. Theresa of Avila, beautiful and grave,
Turned her back on me.
...

Seems like a long time
Since the waiter took my order.
Grimy little luncheonette,
The snow falling outside.
...

Millions were dead; everybody was innocent.
I stayed in my room. The President
Spoke of war as of a magic love potion.
My eyes were opened in astonishment.
...

Not a peep out of you now
After the bedlam early this morning.
Are you begging pardon of me
Hidden up there among the leaves,
...

A world's disappearing.
Little street,
You were too narrow,
Too much in the shade already.
...

The mail truck goes down the coast
Carrying a single letter.
At the end of a long pier
The bored seagull lifts a leg now and then
...

To find clues where there are none,
That's my job now, I said to the
Dictionary on my desk. The world beyond
My window has grown illegible,
...

18.

A New Version: 1980

What is that little black thing I see there
in the white?
...

One shows me how to lie down in a field of clover.
Another how to slip my hand under her Sunday skirt.
Another how to kiss with a mouth full of blackberries.
Another how to catch fireflies in jar after dark.
...

Where the path to the lake twists out of sight,
A puff of dust, the kind bare feet make running,
Is what I saw in the dying light,
Night swooping down everywhere else.
...

Charles Simic Biography

a Serbian-American poet, and was co-Poetry Editor of the Paris Review. He was appointed the fifteenth Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress in 2007.)

The Best Poem Of Charles Simic

Against Winter

The truth is dark under your eyelids.
What are you going to do about it?
The birds are silent; there's no one to ask.
All day long you'll squint at the gray sky.
When the wind blows you'll shiver like straw.

A meek little lamb you grew your wool
Till they came after you with huge shears.
Flies hovered over open mouth,
Then they, too, flew off like the leaves,
The bare branches reached after them in vain.

Winter coming. Like the last heroic soldier
Of a defeated army, you'll stay at your post,
Head bared to the first snow flake.
Till a neighbor comes to yell at you,
You're crazier than the weather, Charlie.

Charles Simic Comments

John Paisley 05 August 2007

Simic got the poet laureate job the other day. I never heard of him before. Some poet. So I been checking him out on the web. Reading his stuff. He has an interview where he quips. He might be a funny guy. Likes jazz. I might like him but first I need to pick him apart.

11 19 Reply
teeemster at gmail 23 March 2019

i'm looking for a Charles Simic poem i remember. it was in the New Yorker years ago. (10? 15?) the events i recall it describing: a bus stop...? [the observer is possibly in the bus...? ] snow, or cold... a man removing his clothes because he's SO ready for the love of his life... ...no evidence of anyone meeting that description near the bus stop. just a man who is ecstatically and incongruously ready...

2 0 Reply

I am poet and I am from Belgrade, and I live through II world war - my dear brother Charles = I was born 1935. Big solut-hello. Mirjana-Arizona

1 0 Reply
Fabrizio Frosini 05 March 2016

a translation into Italian of the poem 'Meet Eddie' by Charles Simic: 'Meet Eddie' VI PRESENTO EDDIE Che ha una vita felice come una lattina di birra che precipita a valle lungo un torrente, che gira alla larga da alcune rocce mentre sbatte a capofitto contro altre, e che si lancia un un vortice da far girare la testa come una bambina sullo sgabello di un pianoforte, con l’acqua che urla al suo rapido passare: Sei pronto ad affrontare il tuo Creatore? E il bosco attorno comincia a sfoltirsi e agli alberi si rizzano i capelli in testa mentre lui si prepara ad affrontare le cascate come un cieco legato alla sua fisarmonica. (Charles Simic - poem tramslated by Damiano Abeni e Moira Egan)

54 3 Reply
Neal Davies 18 January 2015

Simic is one of my desert island poets...I've esteemed him with the best of 20th century poets. I was surprised to learn he became laureate...guess I figured he was too good to be honored by the US Government. Growing up under Nazi occupation would tend to attune one to the eerie and fantastic. Always a plate of wilted mushrooms served by a one legged dancer....a cornucopia of corn...nbd

9 5 Reply

Aren't we all your metaphor of a meek sheep with dark truth under our eyelids? And what are we going to do about it? / Hamlet's dilemma or waiting for Godo... Isn't all our life about it?

11 20 Reply
Eva 19 July 2021

Godot

0 0 Reply

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