The obvious is difficult To prove. Many prefer The hidden. I did, too. I listened to the trees. They had a secret Which they were about to Make known to me— And then didn't. Summer came. Each tree On my street had its own Scheherazade. My nights Were a part of their wild Storytelling. We were Entering dark houses, Always more dark houses, Hushed and abandoned. There was someone with eyes closed On the upper floors. The fear of it, and the wonder, Kept me sleepless. The truth is bald and cold, Said the woman Who always wore white. She didn't leave her room. The sun pointed to one or two Things that had survived The long night intact. The simplest things, Difficult in their obviousness. They made no noise. It was the kind of day People described as "perfect." Gods disguising themselves As black hairpins, a hand-mirror, A comb with a tooth missing? No! That wasn't it. Just things as they are, Unblinking, lying mute In that bright light— And the trees waiting for the night.
Charles Simic - 1938-
Shoes, secret face of my inner life: Two gaping toothless mouths, Two partly decomposed animal skins Smelling of mice-nests. My brother and sister who died at birth Continuing their existence in you, Guiding my life Toward their incomprehensible innocence. What use are books to me When in you it is possible to read The Gospel of my life on earth And still beyond, of things to come? I want to proclaim the religion I have devised for your perfect humility And the strange church I am building With you as the altar. Ascetic and maternal, you endure: Kin to oxen, to Saints, to condemned men, With your mute patience, forming The only true likeness of myself.