Jack Gilbert

(1925 - / Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)

The Abnormal Is Not Courage - Poem by Jack Gilbert

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 bravery. Say it's not courage. Call it a passion.
Would say courage isn't that. Not at its best.
It was impossible, and with form. They rode in sunlight,
Were mangled. But I say courage is not the abnormal.
Not the marvelous act. Not Macbeth with fine speeches.
The worthless can manage in public, or for the moment.
It is too near the whore's heart: the bounty of impulse,
And the failure to sustain even small kindness.
Not the marvelous act, but the evident conclusion of being.
Not strangeness, but a leap forward of the same quality.
Accomplishment. The even loyalty. But fresh.
Not the Prodigal Son, nor Faustus. But Penelope.
The thing steady and clear. Then the crescendo.
The real form. The culmination. And the exceeding.
Not the surprise. The amazed understanding. The marriage,
Not the month's rapture. Not the exception. The beauty
That is of many days. Steady and clear.
It is the normal excellence, of long accomplishment.

Topic(s) of this poem: courage

Comments about The Abnormal Is Not Courage by Jack Gilbert

  • Mahtab Bangalee (7/12/2018 1:29:00 AM)

    But I say courage is not the abnormal.
    Not the marvelous act.

    excel of writings

    but what is abnormalities!
    O no- that's not courage!
    Different head holder in bold!
    or blind in doing anything!
    or confidential insanity of time!
    O the courageous! the brave heart!
    for what you're crazy!
    not in imbalanced thinking!
    right path before your eyesight- DO or DIE!

    Oh the madness ravishes me here, there and everywhere! ! ! ! ! ! ! !
    (Report) Reply

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Read poems about / on: courage, marriage, poem, beauty, passion, son, peace, horse

Poem Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

Poem Edited: Tuesday, February 23, 2016

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