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


Earth Tremors Felt in Missouri

The quake last night was nothing personal, 
you told me this morning. I think one always wonders, 
unless, of course, something is visible: tremors 
that take us, private and willy-nilly, are usual.

But the earth said last night that what I feel, 
you feel; what secretly moves you, moves me. 
One small, sensuous catastrophe 
makes inklings letters, spelled in a worldly tremble.

The earth, with others on it, turns in its course 
as we turn toward each other, less than ourselves, gross, 
mindless, more than we were. Pebbles, we swell 
to planets, nearing the universal roll, 
in our conceit even comprehending the sun, 
whose bright ordeal leaves cool men woebegone.

Credit


Excerpted from Selected Poems by Mona Van Duyn. Copyright © 2002 by Mona Van Duyn. Excerpted by permission of Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Author


Mona Van Duyn

Born in Iowa in 1921, poet Mona Van Duyn published many collections of poetry and served as the U.S. Poet Laureate from 1992-1993.

Date Published: 2002-01-01

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/earth-tremors-felt-missouri