A self-described “late bloomer,” American Hayden Carruth (1921-2008) published his first book of poetry when he was 41. This poem “Ecstacy” is from Scrambled eggs and whiskey (© 1996 Copper Canyon Press) which won the National Book Award. Click here for more.
For years it was in sex and I thought
this was the most of it
or two of transport out of oneself
in music which lasted longer and filled me
with the exquisite wrenching agony
of the blues
and now it is equally
transitory and obscure as I sit in my broken
chair that the cats have shredded
by the stove on a winter night with wind and snow
howling outside and I imagine
the whole world at peace
and everyone comfortable and warm
the great pain assuaged
of the most shining and singular gratification.
image: Detail of The Ecstasy of Saint Theresa, a sculpture designed and completed in 1652 by Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini for the Cornaro Chapel of Santa Maria della Vittoria in Rome.