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temporary loss of self-consciousness (monday poem)

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A self-described “late bloomer,” American Hayden Carruth (1921-2008) published his first book of poetry when st teresahe 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
          so brief
                  a moment
or two of transport out of oneself
                  or
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
                    at peace
and everyone comfortable and warm
the great pain assuaged
                   a moment
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.

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2 responses »

  1. I’m not in the habit of leaving comments, but this poem has really moved me. It so embodies the selflessness of metta, and the language used is truly evocative.

    I’ve been following your blog for a while now, and it strikes such a chord. You have a beautiful soul.

    Blessings.

    Reply

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