Saturday, April 16, 2011


Hayden Carruth

from Paragraphs


It was the custom of my tribe to be silent,

to think the song inwardly, tune and word

so beautiful they could be only held,

not sung; held and heard

in quietness while walking the end of the field

where birches make a grove, or standing by the rail

in back of the library in some northern

city, or in the long dream of a tower

of gothic stoniness; and always we were alone.

Yet sometimes two

heard it, two separately together. It could come

nearby in the shadow of a pine bough

on the snow, or high in the orchestral lights,

or maybe (this was our miracle) it would have no

intermediary —

-------------------a suddenness,

---------------------------indivisible, unvoiced.

from Brothers, I Loved You All
poems 1969-1977
(Sheep Meadow Press)

Ever the New Englander, born in Connecticut in 1921, Hayden Carruth lived the last few decades of his life teaching and getting by in and around Syracuse, New York. A work horse technician with the long poem, narrative, essay, jazz portraits and as a longtime editor in the field. The poem above comes from his seminal long poem "Paragraphs", written during his richest (I'm biased) years in Vermont.

photo :