Myself I Sing

- 1908-1984
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
Shrinking
             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

More by George Oppen

Who Shall Doubt

consciousness

        in itself

of itself carrying

    'the principle
        of the actual' being

actual

itself ((but maybe this is a love 
poem

Mary) ) nevertheless

        neither

the power
of the self nor the racing 
car nor the lilly

        is sweet but this

Psalm

Veritas sequitur ... 


In the small beauty of the forest 
The wild deer bedding down—

That they are there! 
                        
                              Their eyes 
Effortless, the soft lips 
Nuzzle and the alien small teeth 
Tear at the grass 

                              The roots of it 
Dangle from their mouths 
Scattering earth in the strange woods. 
They who are there. 

                              Their paths 
Nibbled thru the fields, the leaves that shade them 
Hang in the distances 
Of sun 

                              The small nouns 
Crying faith 
In this in which the wild deer 
Startle, and stare out.