Words For Departure

by Louise Bogan

Louise Bogan

Nothing was remembered, nothing forgotten.

When we awoke, wagons were passing on the warm summer pavements,

The window-sills were wet from rain in the night,

Birds scattered and settled over chimneypots

As among grotesque trees.

Nothing was accepted, nothing looked beyond.

Slight-voiced bells separated hour from hour,

The afternoon sifted coolness

And people drew together in streets becoming deserted.

There was a moon, and light in a shop-front,

And dusk falling like precipitous water.

Hand clasped hand

Forehead still bowed to forehead--

Nothing was lost, nothing possessed

There was no gift nor denial.


I have remembered you.

You were not the town visited once,

Nor the road falling behind running feet.

You were as awkward as flesh

And lighter than frost or ashes.

You were the rind,

And the white-juiced apple,

The song, and the words waiting for music.


You have learned the beginning;

Go from mine to the other.

Be together; eat, dance, despair,

Sleep, be threatened, endure.

You will know the way of that.

But at the end, be insolent;

Be absurd--strike the thing short off;

Be mad--only do not let talk

Wear the bloom from silence.

And go away without fire or lantern

Let there be some uncertainty about your departure.

Last updated August 31, 2012