Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A poem about stillness

I've read the brief poem below many times in the past two days. It seems perfect to me. In their biography of the author, Marie Howe, the Academy of American Poets includes this quote:

"This might be the most difficult task for us in postmodern life: not to look away from what is actually happening. To put down the iPod and the e-mail and the phone. To look long enough so that we can look through it—like a window."

By that standard, Marie Howe has 20/20 vision.

The Moment

by Marie Howe

Oh, the coming-out-of-nowhere moment

when,   nothing


no what-have-I-to-do-today-list

maybe   half a moment 

the rush of traffic stops. 

The whir of I should be, I should be, I should be

slows to silence,

the white cotton curtains hanging still.



  1. Very powerful.
    It amazes me, as someone who dabbles in poetry, the ability for real poets to convey their thought in so few words -- amazing, thanks for sharing.

  2. I agree, Becky. It's distilled down to the purest essence and the language, though filled with familiar phrases, feels completely fresh. It's a gift.

  3. Just saw this. Wonderful, and just what I need to remember. Thank you.

    I am so happy you have your new job, but I do miss your enriching presence.