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« Perfection Wasted [by John Updike] | Main | "Days of Penitence and Awe" [by David Lehman] »

September 05, 2021


what a profound poem- speaking of surrender- the ultimate condition of comfort.

Terrific poem, Indran!

Thank you Terence for lifting my poem from the room in my mind and making it available to all and sundry, and especially the friends and fine poets who visit your pages. Thank you Grace for your observation about surrender. Thank you Susana. And the day has just begun. love Indran

The accumulating "oh" sounds build to that "grows older"--the heart of the poem. Bravo!

You are very welcome, mon ami.

A beautiful entry into the psyche of one which is inextricably linked to the larger vision of this moment; so each word is so personal but takes on the vastness of what we face, as the word solitude means something else in the pandemic world; in the moment when dear ones, even cities, even species, are leaving.
I loved and was shocked by, the heart exposed…will explode. I love that this is there, in the midst of domestic details, and that what it means is not explained. The heart exposed means everything it can. The openness and the fragility of the heart must be heeded, but can it?
I really am moved by this poem that brings me in on many levels.
Thanks for it, poeta!
Anya Achtenberg

"I have / had my dance with the Muse": who could ask for anything more?

I love the idea of dancing with your muse and of course, a room somewhere away from it all. Lovely poem.

A sad but brave work.

Love this poem💚

Wow. From its heartbreaking accuracy and skill in portraying love and loss to its subtly stunning use of sound to give words to keening--this is a knockout. Thank you, both of you.--Clarinda

Thanks for the comment, Clarinda.

Wonderfully accurate about the desolation that comes at the end of love.

I am moved, overwhelmed really by these profound readings of the poem. Thank you Anya. Yes that explode got me as well when it occurred to me in the writing. Thank you Nancy for the accumulating "oh", David for your service to American poetry and your own dancing with the muse. Clarinda, I am teary-eyed reading your appreciation. Jaime querido, you are right exactly about the desolation. Maureen, yes, sad and brave, thank you. Eileen, thank you for the love. Ann, thanks for observing the two key elements a room of one's own and the end of the dance. Grace, Susana, thank you again. Love to all

I am struck not only by the apt collection of simple images but by the sober wisdom of this poem. It is powerful.

Wistful and wonderful as always Indran!

The heart exposed day in day out will explode, powerful, climactic words!

What a beautiful poem about loss and longing for love!

Indran, your poem about love and loss is an act of kindness.
Love is kind and generous, and so are you by sharing where you find sustenance.
Tus palabras me conmovieron en lo más profundo y te agradezco de todo corazón.

The plans of the poet in the first stanza are much like those of the woman in the final stanza. The cluster of sibilants (sadness, still, solitude, silence) suggests his plan is not working. The sequence of excuse, exposed, explode near the passage about the woman leads me to venture that it is her heart that she feared might explode unless she became an "ex."

Indran’s poem comprises three sestets nimbly navigating expectation, frustration, and resignation. What’s admirable is his refusal to let each stanza stand apart or be wholly contained. The last line of the first stanza sweeps us into the second stanza, the last two lines of which sweep us into the third stanza, which ends not necessarily in a hardened verdict. The poem thus enacts its own inexorable “last dance,” a proffered final gesture, a longing elongated by absence, which does not make the heart grow fonder but makes the heart, in this instance, a foundling. The sense of abandonment is acute, yet the details accrue to the point of perhaps the faintest hint of hope. It can be detected in the words “I must learn to walk away,” which suggest he’s not there yet, and in the concluding words “not … look back,” a warning only he can enforce. (Keep in mind that the poem itself is a look back.) So his argument is with himself, convinced “there is no excuse but the oldest in the book.” He shadowboxes his emotions in a void of communication with the woman who, he believes, “has chosen.” The poem is a statement of resolve set in tension with itself. And that makes it all the more powerful and memorable. Even Yeats knew that poetry comes from the quarrel with ourselves, not others. What’s clear is that Indran, as a poet, is one of our most incisive examiners of the shaken soul.

I am awed by your comment Earle Hitchner. A poet often does not understand consciously what he is doing. Your reading pulls out the technique from my instinctive, unconscious self and helps me see my method. Thank you. Margo, Sandra I am touched by your recognition of the fundamental motives of this poem, love and loss and longing. Perceptive you are Peter Kearney.

Love and Poetry


I know I try to keep my dance card ready for the Muse for when she is ready to dance, and hope she doesn't notice my two left feet! How deftly Indran captures the wistfulness for connection inside our hearts with this elegantly quiet poem.

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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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