Such Is the Sickness of Many a Good Thing
Was he then Adam of the Burning Way? hid away in the heat like wrath conceald in Love’s face, or the seed, Eris in Eros, key and lock of what I was? I could not speak the releasing word. For into a dark matter he came and askt me to say what I could not say. "I .." All the flame in me stopt against my tongue. My heart was a stone, a dumb unmanageable thing in me, a darkness that stood athwart his need for the enlightening, the "I love you" that has only this one quick in time, this one start when its moment is true. Such is the sickness of many a good thing that now into my life from long ago this refusing to say I love you has bound the weeping, the yielding, the yearning to be taken again, into a knot, a waiting, a string so taut it taunts the song, it resists the touch. It grows dark to draw down the lover’s hand from its lightness to what’s underground.
From Bending the Bow. Copyright © 1968 by Robert Duncan. Reprinted with the permission of New Directions Publishing Corporation.
Born on January 7, 1919, in Oakland, California, Robert Duncan took an active role in emerging arts movements and communitites at the time—including Abstract Expressionism, Surrealism, the San Francisco Renaissance and Black Mountain College—and developed a style uniquely his own.
Date Published: 1968-01-01
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/such-sickness-many-good-thing