Poet’s Corner

Ever Since


Archibald MacLeish


What do you remember thinking back?

What do you think of at dusk in the slack

Evening when the mind refills

With the cool past as a well fills in

Darkness from forgotten rains?


Do you think of walking in the all-night train,

The curtains drawn, the Mediterranean

Blue, blue, and the sellers of oranges

Holding heaped up morning toward you ?


Do you think of Kumomoto-Ken

And the clogs going by in the night and the scent of

Clean mats, the sound of the peepers,

The wind in the pines, the dark sleep?


Do you think how Santiago stands at

Night under its stars, under its Andes:

Its bells like heavy birds that climb

Widening circles out of time?


I saw them too.  I know those places.

There are no mountains – scarcely a face

Of all the faces you have seen,

Or a town or a room, but I have seen it.


Even at dusk in the deep chair

Letting the long past take you, bear you –

Even then you never leave me, never can.

Your eyes close, your small hands

Keep their secrets in your lap:

Wherever you are we two were happy.


I wonder what those changing lovers do,

Watching each other in the darkening room,

Whose world together is the night they’ve shared:

Whose past is parting: strangers side by side.

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2 Responses to Poet’s Corner

  1. Ann Berrios on November 12, 2020 at 12:00 pm

    Thank you. I have been looking for this poem for a long time. My husband who died in February of 2019 was born in Santiago. His family is still there. I have visited Santiago many times. I love the tribute to Santiago in this poem.

  2. Editor on November 12, 2020 at 7:29 pm

    Oh, I am so happy you found the poem Ann; and please accept my condolences on the loss of your husband.

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