Two poems by Albert Goldbarth

by Jess

I attended a reading this evening by poet Albert Goldbarth, who read from his new chapbook, “The End of Space.” Since I can’t reprint that here, I’ll leave you with a selection he had published in The New Yorker, as well as a link to “Library,” a very long and quite funny piece, especially heartwarming to book lovers such as myself, that was originally published in The Iowa Review.

The Way

The sky is random. Even calling it “sky”

is an attempt to make a meaning, say,

a shape, from the humanly visible part

of shapelessness in endlessness. It’s what

we do, in some ways it’s entirely what

we do—and so the devastating rose

of a galaxy’s being born, the fatal lamé

of another’s being torn and dying, we frame

in the lenses of our super-duper telescopes the way

we would those other completely incomprehensible

fecund and dying subjects at a family picnic.

Making them “subjects.” “Rose.” “Lamé.” The way

our language scissors the enormity to scales

we can tolerate. The way we gild and rubricate

in memory, or edit out selectively.

An infant’s gentle snoring, even, apportions

the eternal. When they moved to the boonies,

Dorothy Wordsworth measured their walk

to Crewkerne—then the nearest town—

by pushing a device invented especially

for such a project, a “perambulator”: seven miles.

Her brother William pottered at his daffodils poem.

Ten thousand saw I at a glance: by which he meant

too many to count, but could only say it in counting.