Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


First Things to Hand

In the skull kept on the desk.
In the spider-pod in the dust.

Or nowhere. In milkmaids, in loaves,
Or nowhere. And if Socrates leaves

His house in the morning,
When he returns in the evening

He will find Socrates waiting
On the doorstep. Buddha the stick

You use to clear the path,
And Buddha the dog-doo you flick

Away with it, nowhere or in each
Several thing you touch:

The dollar bill, the button
That works the television.

Even in the joke, the three
Words American men say

After making love. Where's
The remote? In the tears

In things, proximate, intimate.
In the wired stem with root

And leaf nowhere of this lamp:
Brass base, aura of illumination,

Enlightenment, shade of grief.
Odor of the lamp, brazen.

The mind waiting in the mind
As in the first thing to hand.

Credit


"First Things to Hand" first appeared in First Things to Hand, published by Sarabande Books, 2006 © Robert Pinsky.

Author


Robert Pinsky

The author of several collections of poetry, Robert Pinsky won the 1997 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize for his book The Figured Wheel: New and Collected Poems 1966-1996

Date Published: 2006-01-01

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/first-things-hand