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


Myself I Sing

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

Credit


From New Collected Poems. Copyright © 2002 by Linda Oppen. Used with permission of New Directions Publishing Corporation.

Author


George Oppen

Born in 1908, George Oppen was known for both his poetry and his political activism, he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1969

Date Published: 2002-01-01

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/myself-i-sing