He has made me to know,
in myself, a compassion I have
no use for.

He fairly breaks-as they say-my heart.

He passes into and free of the light,

the light itself
trophaic in its semblance
of taking leave.

late fog;

he has caused me to understand
and record
the difference,

as between the sea when
it seems mostly a delicate, black


and the sky at night when it wants
for stars.

Wild bird

at rest
in the very hand to which it once was blur

all resistance-

Had I not
called it a thing done with
already, the better part

of pleasure? Did he not find me

lying still
in the part at least I had thought

to keep?

From ROCK HARBOR (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2002)


Poems by Carl Phillips



Sudden Scattering of Leaves, All Gold