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In A Vacant House Analysis

Author: poem of Philip Levine Type: poem Views: 14

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Someone was calling someone;

now they've stopped. Beyond the glass

the rose vines quiver as in

a light wind, but there is none:

I hear nothing. The moments pass,

or seem to pass, and the sun,

risen above the old birch,

steadies for the downward arch.

It is noon. Privacy is

one thing, but to be alone,

to speak and not to be heard,

to speak again the same word

or another until one

can no longer distinguish

the presence of silence or

what the silence is there for...

No one can begin anew

naming by turn beast, fowl,

and bush with the exact word.

Beyond the fence the sparse wood Yields;

light enters; nighthawk, owl,

and weasel have fled. To know

the complete absence of fear,

not to fear what is not there

becomes the end, the last brute

quiver of instinct. One moves,

or tries to move, among facts,

naming one's self and one's acts

as if they were real. Dead leaves

cling to the branch, and the root

grips to endure, but no cry

questions the illusion of sky.


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