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Yvor Winters was born in Chicago in 1900 and died Palo Alto, California in 1968. He was studying at the University of Chicago when he was diagnosed as tubercular and had to relocate to Santa Fe, New Mexico, for his health. His early experimental poems, the striking one-line works in the imagist mode as well as the formalist works of his first two books, published in 1921 and 1922, were all written at a tuberculosis sanitarium. In 1923-24 he taught in the grade school and high school in the coal-mining camp towns of Madrid, and Cerillo, New Mexico. About that experience he remarked, in an introduction to his early poems, in 1966: "Accidents, many fatal, were common in the mines, from ... more »
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Yvor Winters PoemsAt The San Francisco Airport
This is the terminal: the light
Gives perfect vision, false and hard;... more »
I, one who never speaks,
Listened days in summer trees,
Each day a rustling leaf.... more »
A Song In Passing
Where am I now? And what
Am I to say portends?
Death is but death, and not
The most obtuse of ends.... more »
And walked among
Chrysanthemums,... more »
Sonnet To The Moon
Now every leaf, though colorless, burns bright
With disembodied and celestial light,
And drops without a movement or a sound
A pillar of darkness to the shifting ground.... more »
By The Road To The Air Base
The calloused grass lies hard
Against the cracking plain:
Life is a grayish stain;
The salt-marsh hems my yard.... more »
The Empty Hills
The grandeur of deep afternoons,
The pomp of haze on marble hills,
Where every white-walled villa swoons
Through violence that heat fulfills,... more »
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And walked among
The earthy blossoms.
My very breath
In nights of study,
And page by page
I came on spring.
The rats run on the roof,
These words come hard---
Sadder than cockcrow
In a dreamless, earthen sleep.
The Christ, eternal
In the scented cold; my love,
Her hand on the sill
White, as if out of earth;
And spring, the sleep of the dead.