MONUMENT

To exist; to be among things.
The art of nerve ends, masseur art
Of the blind skin

Or the five
Senses gone
To the one sense, to well being

Lacks significance.
Or lacks life. The thing
By which the mind
Sees!——if it wake——

The wooden sills, the grimed past
Above the store fronts and the signs, the black

Telephone pole of the past sunned warm
As the tree’s bulk, or the squirrel’s

Eyes, whose substance, solid ounce, whose life
Bursts furious thru the leaves

      And down town,
The absurd stone trimming of the building tops
Rectangular in dawn, the shopper’s
Thin morning monument.


THE THEOLOGICAL QUESTION

Thus desire
Becomes knowledge

Whether one loves
The world or loves
Shelter
From it

Is decisive, amnesiac children,
The dance of the death

  — George Oppen (1908 – 1984), American poet