Randall Jarrell

Randall Jarrell Poems

From my mother's sleep I fell into the State,
And I hunched in its belly till my wet fur froze.
Six miles from earth, loosed from its dream of life,
I woke to black flak and the nightmare fighters.
...

It was not dying: everybody died.
It was not dying: we had died before
In the routine crashes-- and our fields
Called up the papers, wrote home to our folks,
...

3.

The spirit killeth, but the letter giveth life.
The week is dealt out like a hand
That children pick up card by card.
One keeps getting the same hand.
...

The saris go by me from the embassies.

Cloth from the moon. Cloth from another planet.
They look back at the leopard like the leopard.
...

Each day brings its toad, each night its dragon.
Der heilige Hieronymus- his lion is at the zoo-
Listens, listens. All the long, soft, summer day
Dreams affright his couch, the deep boils like a pot.
...

The moon rises. The red cubs rolling
In the ferns by the rotten oak
Stare over a marsh and a meadow
To the farm's white wisp of smoke.
...

If, in an odd angle of the hutment,
A puppy laps the water from a can
Of flowers, and the drunk sergeant shaving
Whistles O Paradiso!--shall I say that man
...

Did they send me away from my cat and my wife
To a doctor who poked me and counted my teeth,
To a line on a plain, to a stove in a tent?
Did I nod in the flies of the schools?
...

The letters always just evade the hand
One skates like a stone into a beam, falls like a bird.
Surely the past from which the letters rise
Is waiting in the future, past the graves?
...

The postman comes when I am still in bed.
"Postman, what do you have for me today?"
I say to him. (But really I'm in bed.)
Then he says - what shall I have him say?
...

When the swans turned my sister into a swan
I would go to the lake, at night, from milking:
The sun would look out through the reeds like a swan,
A swan's red beak; and the beak would open
...

Moving from Cheer to Joy, from Joy to All,
I take a box
And add it to my wild rice, my Cornish game hens.
The slacked or shorted, basketed, identical
...

With beasts and gods, above, the wall is bright.
The child's head, bent to the book-colored shelves,
Is slow and sidelong and food-gathering,
Moving in blind grace ... yet from the mural, Care
...

At home, in my flannel gown, like a bear to its floe,
I clambered to bed; up the globe's impossible sides
I sailed all night—till at last, with my black beard,
My furs and my dogs, I stood at the northern pole.
...

Her imaginary playmate was a grown-up
In sea-coal satin. The flame-blue glances,
The wings gauzy as the membrane that the ashes
Draw over an old ember --as the mother
...

From my mother's sleep I fell into the State,
And I hunched in its belly till my wet fur froze.
Six miles from earth, loosed from its dream of life,
I woke to black flak and the nightmare fighters.
...

At the back of the houses there is the wood.
While there is a leaf of summer left, the wood

Makes sounds I can put somewhere in my song,
...

(Rainer Maria Rilke)

He went up under the gray leaves
All gray and lost in the olive lands
...

A bird that I don't know,
Hunched on his light-pole like a scarecrow,
Looks sideways out into the wheat
The wind waves under the waves of heat.
...

Looking back in my mind I can see
The white sun like a tin plate
Over the wooden turning of the weeds;
The street jerking --a wet swing--
...

Randall Jarrell Biography

Poet, critic and teacher, Randall Jarrell was born in Nashville, Tennessee, to Anna (Campbell) and Owen Jarrell on May 6, 1914. Mr. Jarrell attended the Vanderbilt University and later taught at the University of Texas. Mr. Jarrell also taught a year at Princeton and also at the University of Illinois; he did a two-year appointment as Poetry Consultant at the Library of Congress. Randall Jarrell published many novels througout his lifetime and one of his most well known works was in 1960, "The Woman at the Washington Zoo". Upon Mr. Jarrells passing, Peter Taylor (A well known fiction writer and friend of Mr. Jarrell) said, "To Randall's friends there was always the feeling that he was their teacher. To Randall's students there was always the feeling that he was their friend. And with good reason for both." Lowell said of Jarrell, "Now that he is gone, I see clearly that the spark of heaven really struck and irradiated the lines and being of my dear old friend—his noble, difficult and beautiful soul.")

The Best Poem Of Randall Jarrell

The Death Of The Ball Turret Gunner

From my mother's sleep I fell into the State,
And I hunched in its belly till my wet fur froze.
Six miles from earth, loosed from its dream of life,
I woke to black flak and the nightmare fighters.
When I died they washed me out of the turret with a hose.

Randall Jarrell Comments

Lamont Palmer 25 March 2006

Jarrell is easily the greatest poet/critic of the 20th century. -LP

24 8 Reply

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