Robert Creeley

(1926-2005 / Arlington, Massachusetts)

Gnomic Verses - Poem by Robert Creeley


Down the road Up the hill Into the house
Over the wall Under the bed After the fact
By the way Out of the woods Behind the times
In front of the door Between the lines Along the path


In the way it was in the street

it was in the back it was
in the house it was in the room
it was in the dark it was

fat fate

Be at That this
Come as If when
Stay or Soon then
Ever happen It will


Particular pleasures weather measures or
Dimestore delights faced with such sights.


Outstretched innocence
Implacable distance
Lend me a hand
See if it reaches


Of right Of wrong Of up Of down
Of who Of how Of when Of one
Of then Of if Of in Of out
Of feel Of friend Of it Of now


Now the inevitable
As in tales of woe
The inexorable toll
It takes, it takes.


Head on backwards
Face front neck’s
Pivot bunched flesh
Drops jowled brunch.


Little bit patted pulled
Stretched set let cool.


Whenas To for
If where From in
Past place Stated want
Gain granted Planned or

have a heart

Have heart Find head
Feel pattern Be wed
Smell water See sand
Oh boy Ain’t life grand

oh oh

Now and then
Here and there
On and on


Season’s upon us
Weather alarms us
Snow riot peace
Leaves struck fist.


Let little Linda allow litigation
Foster faith’s fantasy famously
And answer all apt allegations
Handmake Harold’s homework handsomely


Passion’s particulars
Steamy hands
Unwashed warmth
One night stands

west acton summer

Cat’s rats, Mother’s brother
Vacation’s patience, loud clouds
Fields far, seize trees
School’s rules, friends tend
Lawn’s form, barn’s beams
Hay’s daze, swallows follow
Sun’s sunk, moon mends
Echo’s ending, begin again


“Far be it from Harry to alter the sense of drama inherent in the almighty tuxedo ...”

“Far be it from Harry”
Sit next to Mary,
See how the Other
Follows your Mother


Pat’s place
Pattern’s face
Aberrant fact
Changes that


Four’s forms
Back and forth
Feel way Hindside
Paper route Final chute


Indefatigably alert when hit still hurt.
Whenever he significantly alters he falters.
Wondrous weather murmured mother.
Unforgettable twist in all such synthesis.
Impeccably particular you always were.
Laboriously enfeebled he still loved people.


Driving to the expected
Place in mind in
Place of mind in
Driving to the expected


You have to reach
Out more it’s
Farther away from
You it’s here


Exoneration’s face
Echoed distaste
Privileged repetition
Makeshift’s decision—


Now and then
Behind time’s
Emptied scene and
Memory’s mistakes—


You are here
And there too
Being but one
Of you—


All that’s left of coherence.

echo again

Statement keep talking
Train round bend over river into distance


Everything’s before you
were here.

summer ’38

Nubble’s Light a sort
of bump I thought—
a round insistent
small place

not like this—
it was a bluff,
tip on the edge
of the sea.


Lift up so you’re
Floating out
Of your skin at
The edge but
Mostly up seeming
Free of the ground.


Think of the
Dance you could do
One legged man
Two legged woman.


Hard to be unaddressed—
Empty to reflection—
Take the road east—
Be where it is.


Sunrise always first—
That light—is it
Round the earth—what
Simple mindedness.


It is
You are


Out there
In here
Now it is
Was also


Up where
It will be
And down


No one
To it

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Poem Submitted: Monday, April 19, 2010

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