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


If It All Went Up in Smoke

that smoke
would remain

the forever
savage country poem's light borrowed

light of the landscape and one's footprints praise

from distance
in the close
crowd all

that is strange the sources

the wells the poem begins

neither in word
nor meaning but the small
selves haunting

us in the stones and is less

always than that help me I am
of that people the grass

blades touch

and touch in their small

distances the poem
begins

Credit


From New Collected Poems by George Oppen, copyright © 1978 by George Oppen. Reprinted by permission of New Directions Publishing Corp.

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: 1978-01-01

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/if-it-all-went-smoke