to find yourself...

from my anthology of must read (a)merican poems

Molly Peacock


may favor obscure brainy aptitudes in you
and a love of the past so blind you would
venture, always securing permission,
into the back library stacks, without food
or water because you have a mission:
to find yourself, in the regulated light,
holding a volume in your hands as you
yourself might like to be held. Mostly your life
will be voices and images. Information. You
may go a long way alone, and travel much
to open a book to renew your touch.


Marvelous lines that have no false notion of what the poem is supposed to do – to speak to that part in each on of us that studies a very personal version of self, that strives to go beyond, to know without knowing. This is who we are... “Mostly your life / will be voices and images.” Peacock writes of the mission to find the self as a necessary journey that everyone must take. I’m fascinated by the power of words here, of the ability of a book “to renew your touch”. To hold a book as you would like to be held. Connections.

Words carry their own immortality. When I speak aloud a poem by Rumi, Han-shan, Emily Dickinson … Bishop or Brooks or Stafford, I must use, in a real sense, their breath. I must breathe the words as they breathed them, must speak the lines as they spoke them. A continual renewal.

No comments: