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« W. D. Snodgrass passed away this morning (by David Yezzi) | Main | Haiku Exchange # 6 (Shapiro and Lehman) »

January 14, 2009


what does this poem mean?

The poem means what the poem says, but what the poem says depends on the poem's affirmations of nobility, than which nothing is more difficult or more necessary. There is no element more conspicuously absent from contemporary poetry than nobility.


The poem is about the transience of our lives. It’s captivating because
we all hear stories about people we’ve never met that have passed.
And no matter how interesting their lives may have been, they feel
like just another story- a busy story concerning someone else.
Eventually the stories are forgotten. It’s melancholy but the urgency is implied:
Make your life count to someone.

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That Ship Has Sailed
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"Lively and affectionate" Publishers Weekly


I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark

from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman


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