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Jack Gilbert

Jack Gilbert Poems


Suddenly this defeat.
This rain.
The blues gone gray
And the browns gone gray

Tear It Down

We find out the heart only by dismantling what
the heart knows. By redefining the morning,
we find a morning that comes just after darkness.
We can break through marriage into marriage.


Woke up suddenly thinking I heard crying.
Rushed through the dark house.
Stopped, remembering. Stood looking
out at bright moonlight on concrete.

The Abnormal Is Not Courage

The Poles rode out from Warsaw against the German
Tanks on horses. Rode knowing, in sunlight, with sabers,
A magnitude of beauty that allows me no peace.
And yet this poem would lessen that day. Question

The Great Fires

Love is apart from all things.
Desire and excitement are nothing beside it.
It is not the body that finds love.
What leads us there is the body.

Jack Gilbert Comments

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0 0 Reply
Sonia 04 July 2018

Want to know if he wrote the following poem: When you live every hour by the grace of His power and you know He will guide you aright, then day in and day out faith is stronger than doubt, and faith puts your worries to flight.

0 1 Reply
Dorothy Wilson 16 December 2017

I love this poem. It's the first one of his that I have read. It shocks the heart and destroys judgment- that's how it affected me anyway. Thanks for posting it.

3 0 Reply
Ronald Jorgensen 31 May 2013

Entering the website through the search phrase on Google of all poems of Jack Gilbert, and finding that tag on the site, clicking on it is not fruitful. I wanted to see his poem, Guilty, and got nothing in the search for it. Do you not, in fact, have all of his poems as the tag promises? I am disappointed, for Guilty is one of his great creations (in my opinion, of course) , and stands as a creative originality even in the context of his already creative originality generally. After writing this comment, I found I was able to locate the poem elsewhere and have copied and pasted it below for your consideration. I'd, of course, be interested in reactions. Guilty The man certainly looked guilty. Ugly, ragged, and not clean. Not to mention their finding him there in the woods with her body. Neighbors told how he was always playing with dead squirrels, mangled dogs, even snakes. He said those were the only things that would allow him to get close. Look at me, the old man said with uncomplaining simplicity, I'm already one of the dead among the dead. It's hard to watch things humiliated the way death does it. Possums smeared on the road, birds with ants eating out their eyes. Even dying rats want privacy for their disgrace. It's true I washed the dirt from her face and the blood off the body. Combed her hair. I slept beside her, at her feet for two days, the way my dog used to. I got the dress on the best I could. She looked so neglected. Like garbage thrown in the weeds. Like nobody cared because he had done that to her. I kept thinking about how long she is going to be alone now. I knew the police would take pictures and put them in the papers naked and open so people eating breakfast could look at her. I wanted to give her spirit enough time to get ready. Thank you for the opportunity to share this, Ronald

11 1 Reply

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Jack Gilbert Biography

Jack Gilbert was an American poet.


Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.'s neighborhood of East Liberty, he attended Peabody High School then worked as a door-to-door salesman, an exterminator, and a steelworker. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh, where he and his classmate Gerald Stern developed a se ...

Jack Gilbert Popularity