The essential poems, selected by Donald Hall: “the hard-won achievement of a lifetime” (Wall Street Journal)
“The hard-won achievement of a lifetime.” — Wall Street Journal
“When I was twelve I wrote my first poem, and by fourteen I decided that’s what I’d do my whole life. I don’t regret it.” — from the afterword by Donald Hall
Donald Hall was an American master, one of the nation’s most beloved and accomplished poets. Here, in his eighties, having taken stock of the body of his work—rigorous, gorgeous verse that is the result of seventy years of “ambition and pleasure”—he strips it down.
The Selected Poems of Donald Hall reflects the poet’s handpicked, concise selection, showcasing work rich with humor and Eros and “a kind of simplicity that succeeds in engaging the reader in the first few lines” (Billy Collins).
From the enduring “My Son My Executioner” to “Names of Horses” to “Without,” Donald Hall’s best poems deliver “a banquet in the mouth” (Charles Simic) and an “aching elegance” (Baltimore Sun). For the first-time reader or an old friend, these are, above all others, the poems to read, reread, and remember.
Pale gold of the walls, gold
of the centers of daisies, yellow roses
pressing from a clear bowl. All day
we lay on the bed, my hand
stroking the deep
gold of your thighs and your back.
We slept and woke
entering the golden room together,
lay down in it breathing
caressing and dozing, your hand sleepily
touching my hair now.
We made in those days
tiny identical rooms inside our bodies
which the men who uncover our graves
will find in a thousand years,
shining and whole.
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