Mark Strand The Continuous Life,: Poems

ISBN 13: 9780679738442

The Continuous Life,: Poems

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9780679738442: The Continuous Life,: Poems
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Strand's poems occupy a place that exists between abstraction and the sensuous particulars of experience. It is a place created by a voice that moves with unerring ease between the commonplace and the sublime. The poems are filled with "the weather of leavetaking," but they are also unexpectedly funny. The erasure of self and the depredations of time are seen as sources of sorrow, but also as grounds for celebration. This is one of the difficult truths these poems dramatize with stoicism and wit.

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About the Author:

Mark Strand was born in Summerside, Prince Edward Island, Canada, and was raised and educated in the United States and South America. He is the author of many books of poems, a book of stories, and three volumes of translations, and he was the editor of several anthologies. He received many honors and awards, including a MacArthur Fellowship, the Pulitzer Prize (for Blizzard of One), the Bollingen Prize, and the Gold Medal for Poetry from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In 1990, he was appointed poet laureate of the United States. He died in August 2013.

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The Continuous Life

What of the neighborhood homes awash
In a silver light, of children crouched in the bushes,
Watching the grown-ups for signs of surrender,
Signs that the irregular pleasures of moving
From day to day, of being adrift on the swell of duty,
Have run their course? Oh parents, confess
To your little ones the night is a long way off
And your taste for the mundane grows; tell them
Your worship of household chores has barely begun;
Describe the beauty of shovels and rakes, brooms and mops;
Say there will always be cooking and cleaning to do,
That one thing leads to another, which leads to another;
Explain that you live between two great darks, the first
With an ending, the second without one, that the luckiest
Thing is having been born, that you live in a blur
Of hours and days, months and years, and believe
It has meaning, despite the occasional fear
You are slipping away with nothing completed, nothing
To prove you existed. Tell the children to come inside,
That your search goes on for something you lost--a name,
A family album that fell from its own small matter
Into another, a piece of the dark that might have been yours,
You don’t really know. Say that each of you tries
To keep busy, learning to lean down close and hear
The careless breathing of earth and feel its available
Languor come over you, wave after wave, sending
Small tremors of love through your brief,
Undeniable selves, into your days, and beyond.

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