TO PURITY

I have heard so much about you

if you claim to be you
I will know it’s not true

if you say nothing I will listen
as I do
with my own
old mixed feelings
of hope and reservation

hearing through them
whatever might be you

the way I see
the white light from
the beginning
through the colors of the garden
through a face an eye

  — W.S. Merwin (b. 1927), American poet and translator.


DEBT

That ‘part
Of consciousness
That works’:

A virtue, then, a skill
Of benches and the shock

Of the press where an instant on the steel bed
The manufactured part——

New!
And imperfect. Not as perfect
As the die they made
Which was imperfect. Checked

To tolerance

Among the pin ups, notices, conversion charts,
And skills, so little said of it

  — George Oppen (1908 – 1984), Pulitzer Prize winning American poet.