Anniversany Poem

by George Oppen

George Oppen

the picturesque
common lot' the unwarranted light
Where everyone has been

The very ground of the path
And the litter grow ancient

A shovel's scratched edge
So like any other man's

We are troubled by incredulity
We are troubled by scratched things

Becoming familiar
Becoming extreme


Let grief
So it be ours

Nor hide one's eyes
As tides drop along the beaches in the thin wash of

And so desert each other

-lest there be nothing

The Indian girl walking across the desert, the
sunfish under the boat

How shall we say how this happened, these stories, our

Scope, mere size, a kind of redemption

Exposed still and jagged on the San Francisco hills

Time and depth before us, paradise of the real, we
know what it is

To find now depth, not time, since we cannot, but depth

To come out safe, to end well

We have begun to say good bye
To each other
And cannot say it


Last updated November 30, 2022