A New Selected Poems

by Galway Kinnell

That Silent Evening

I will go back to that silent evening when we lay together and talked in silent voices, while outside slow lumps of soft snow fell, hushing as they got near the ground, with a fire in the room, in which centuries of tree went up in continuous ghost-giving-up, without a crackle, into morning light.

Not until what hastens went slower did we sleep.

When we got home we turned and looked back at our tracks twining out of the woods, where the branches we brushed against let fall puffs of sparkling snow, quickly, in silence, like stolen kisses, and where the scritch scritch scritch among the trees, which is the sound that dies inside the sparks from the wedge when the sledge hits it off center telling everything inside it is fire, jumped to a black branch, puffed up but without arms and so to our eyes lonesome, and yet also--how can we know this?--happy!

in shape of chickadee. Lying still in snow, not iron-willed, like railroad tracks, willing not to meet until heaven, but here and there treading slubby kissing stops, our tracks wobble across the snow their long scratch.

So many things that happen here are really little more, if even that, than a scratch, too. Words, in our mouths, are almost ready, already, to bandage the one whom the scritch scritch scritch, meaning if how when we might lose each other, scratches scratches scratches from this moment to that. Then I will go back to that silent evening, when the past just managed to overlap the future, if only by a trace, and the light doubles and casts through the dark a sparkling that heavens the earth.

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN-13/ EAN: 9780618154456
  • ISBN-10: 0618154450
  • Pages: 192
  • Publication Date: 09/13/2001
  • Carton Quantity: 40

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About the Book
About the Author
Excerpts
  • About the Book
    That Silent Evening

    I will go back to that silent evening when we lay together and talked in silent voices, while outside slow lumps of soft snow fell, hushing as they got near the ground, with a fire in the room, in which centuries of tree went up in continuous ghost-giving-up, without a crackle, into morning light.

    Not until what hastens went slower did we sleep.

    When we got home we turned and looked back at our tracks twining out of the woods, where the branches we brushed against let fall puffs of sparkling snow, quickly, in silence, like stolen kisses, and where the scritch scritch scritch among the trees, which is the sound that dies inside the sparks from the wedge when the sledge hits it off center telling everything inside it is fire, jumped to a black branch, puffed up but without arms and so to our eyes lonesome, and yet also--how can we know this?--happy!

    in shape of chickadee. Lying still in snow, not iron-willed, like railroad tracks, willing not to meet until heaven, but here and there treading slubby kissing stops, our tracks wobble across the snow their long scratch.

    So many things that happen here are really little more, if even that, than a scratch, too. Words, in our mouths, are almost ready, already, to bandage the one whom the scritch scritch scritch, meaning if how when we might lose each other, scratches scratches scratches from this moment to that. Then I will go back to that silent evening, when the past just managed to overlap the future, if only by a trace, and the light doubles and casts through the dark a sparkling that heavens the earth.

  • About the Author
  • Excerpts
    From What a Kingdom It Was 1960

    First Song

    Then it was dusk in Illinois, the small boy After an afternoon of carting dung Hung on the rail fence, a sapped thing Weary to crying. Dark was growing tall And he began to hear the pond frogs all Calling on his ear with what seemed their joy.

    Soon their sound was pleasant for a boy Listening in the smoky dusk and the nightfall Of Illinois, and from the fields two small Boys came bearing cornstalk violins And they rubbed the cornstalk bows with resins And the three sat there scraping of their joy.

    It was now fine music the frogs and the boys Did in the towering Illinois twilight make And into dark in spite of a shoulder’s ache A boy’s hunched body loved out of a stalk The first song of his happiness, and the song woke His heart to the darkness and into the sadness of joy.

    Copyright © 2000, 2001 by Galway Kinnell

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