Yellow Stars and Ice

Susan Stewart

 
I am as far as the deepest sky between clouds
and you are as far as the deepest root and wound,
and I am as far as a train at evening,
as far as a whistle you can't hear or remember.
You are as far as an unimagined animal
who, frightened by everything, never appears.
I am as far as cicadas and locusts
and you are as far as the cleanest arrow
that has sewn the wind to the light on
the birch trees. I am as far as the sleep of rivers
that stains the deepest sky between clouds,
you are as far as invention, and I am as far as memory.
You are as far as a red-marbled stream
where children cut their feet on the stones
and cry out. And I am as far as their happy
mothers, bleaching new linen on the grass
and singing, "You are as far as another life,
as far as another life are you."
And I am as far as an infinite alphabet
made from yellow stars and ice,
and you are as far as the nails of the dead man,
as far as a sailor can see at midnight
when he's drunk and the moon is an empty cup,
and I am as far as invention and you are as far as memory.
I am as far as the corners of a room where no one
has ever spoken, as far as the four lost corners
of the earth. And you are as far as the voices
of the dumb, as the broken limbs of saints
and soldiers, as the scarlet wing of the suicidal
blackbird, I am farther and farther away from you.
And you are as far as a horse without a rider
can run in six years, two months and five days.
I am as far as that rider, who rubs his eyes with
his blistered hands, who watches a ghost don his
jacket and boots and now stands naked in the road.
As far as the space between word and word,
as the heavy sleep of the perfectly loved
and the sirens of wars no one living can remember,
as far as this room, where no words have been spoken,
you are as far as invention, and I am as far as memory.
 
From Yellow Stars and Ice by Susan Stewart, published by Princeton University Press. Copyright © 1981 by Susan Stewart. All rights reserved. You may read and browse this material at this website. However, no further copying, downloading, or linking is permitted. No part of this material may be further reproduced in any form by any electronic or mechanical means (including photocopying, recording, or information storage and retrieval) without permission in writing from the publisher. Users are not permitted to mount this file on any network servers. For permission requests and to search our online catalog, please see our website at www.pup.princeton.edu.

Poems by This Author

A Language by Susan Stewart
Four Lack Songs by Susan Stewart
Hammer to a copper bowl
Lost Colony by Susan Stewart
The Forest by Susan Stewart
You should lie down now and remember the forest,


Further Reading

Poems About Outer Space
A Clear Midnight
by Walt Whitman
Back Yard
by Carl Sandburg
Bright Star
by John Keats
Comet Hyakutake
by Arthur Sze
I'm Over the Moon
by Brenda Shaughnessy
Let Evening Come
by Jane Kenyon
Mars Poetica
by Wyn Cooper
Moon Gathering
by Eleanor Wilner
Not from the stars do I my judgment pluck (Sonnet 14)
by William Shakespeare
Now that no one looking
by Adam Kirsch
Orion
by Susan Gevirtz
She Walks in Beauty
by George Gordon Byron
Sky
by Anzhelina Polonskaya
Skylab
by Rolf Jacobsen
Star Quilt
by Roberta J. Hill
Starlight
by William Meredith
The Falling Star
by Sara Teasdale
The Star
by Jane Taylor
The Truth About Northern Lights
by Christine Hume
To the Moon [fragment]
by Percy Bysshe Shelley