Jack Gilbert

(1925 - / Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)

Tear It Down - Poem by Jack Gilbert

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.
By insisting on love we spoil it, get beyond
affection and wade mouth-deep into love.
We must unlearn the constellations to see the stars.
But going back toward childhood will not help.
The village is not better than Pittsburgh.
Only Pittsburgh is more than Pittsburgh.
Rome is better than Rome in the same way the sound
of raccoon tongues licking the inside walls
of the garbage tub is more than the stir
of them in the muck of the garbage. Love is not
enough. We die and are put into the earth forever.
We should insist while there is still time. We must
eat through the wildness of her sweet body already
in our bed to reach the body within that body.

Comments about Tear It Down by Jack Gilbert

  • (1/28/2018 9:42:00 PM)

    A poem I liked. Thanks. (Report) Reply

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  • Bernard F. Asuncion (1/28/2018 5:29:00 PM)

    Such a great poem by Jack Gilbert...10+++ (Report) Reply

  • Susan Williams (1/28/2018 2:40:00 PM)

    Not sure what I think about this. Definitely interesting verses- -interesting images and word choices. But I am just not responding. Maybe cuz I am cranky and cross this morning kind of like a raccoon inside a metal garbage can when somebody starts banging on it with a metal wrench... (Report) Reply

  • Susan Williams (1/28/2018 2:35:00 PM)

    It is really tiresome that I and perhaps you cannot rate poems anymore because some messed up computer thingee can only respond to a vote by demanding we sign in again and again and again. Really getting tiresome. Neither can I track down the comments that notifications to my e-mail tell me about. (Report) Reply

  • Denis Mair (1/28/2018 2:19:00 PM)

    Always trying to break through that carapace, aren't you Jack? It is the nature of mind to know itself a chrysalis, to see itself flying. In fledgling form it continually sheds and moults. But don't forget the beautify of an exoskeleton. (Report) Reply

  • Brian Jani (5/19/2014 10:31:00 AM)

    Jack well done man! ! ! ! (Report) Reply

  • (4/19/2008 8:15:00 PM)

    ... or as In Uuno Kailas' Prayer it is said so beautifully: ...There is no pitying that heart that it is being nailed to a cross, as long as it were by Life's own hands, For such a heart's measure will be full... (Report) Reply

  • (6/22/2006 8:26:00 AM)

    Clicked the random poem choice and here I am. I love this poem! There's too much truth in it. Sometimes its difficult to see the simplicity of things because we look first at the over-all picture than the thing itself. and sometimes, before we know it...we've already lost time to appreciate the wonder!
    Good read! Write on!
    (Report) Reply

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Read poems about / on: marriage, childhood, heart, love, time, star

Poem Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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