Myself I Sing

George Oppen

Me! he says, hand on his chest.
Actually, his shirt.
                     And there, perhaps,
The question.
Pioneers! But trailer people?
Wood box full of tools—
                         The most
American. A sort of
             in themselves. A
Less than adult: old.
A pocket knife,
A tool—
               And I
Here talking to the man?
                        The sky
That dawned along the road
And all I've been
Is not myself? I think myself
Is what I've seen and not myself
A man marooned
No longer looks for ships, imagines
Anything on the horizon. On the beach
The ocean ends in water. Finds a dune
And on the beach sits near it. Two.
He finds himself by two.
                        Or more.
'Incapable of contact
Save in incidents'
                        And yet at night
Their weight is part of mine.
For we are all housed now, all in our apartments,
The world untended to, unwatched.
And there is nothing left out there
As night falls, but the rocks
From New Collected Poems. Copyright © 2002 by Linda Oppen. Used with permission of New Directions Publishing Corporation.

Poems by This Author

Discrete Series by George Oppen
If It All Went Up in Smoke by George Oppen
that smoke
Image of the Engine by George Oppen
Leviathan by George Oppen
Truth also is the pursuit of it
Of Being Numerous, 12 by George Oppen
'In these explanations it is presumed that an experiencing
Of Being Numerous, 13 by George Oppen
unable to begin
Of Being Numerous, 15 by George Oppen
Chorus (androgynous): 'Find me
Of Being Numerous, 24 by George Oppen
In this nation
Of Being Numerous, 32 by George Oppen
Only that it should be beautiful
Of Being Numerous, 33 by George Oppen
Which is ours, which is ourselves,
Of Being Numerous, 40 by George Oppen
The capitol grows upon one in time
Psalm by George Oppen
In the small beauty of the forest
Semite by George Oppen
what art and anti-art to lead us by the sharpness
Street by George Oppen
The Forms of Love by George Oppen
Parked in the fields
Who Shall Doubt by George Oppen
consciousness / in itself