Saturday, February 8, 2014

Stephen Dunn: "Choosing to Think of It"

Today, ten thousand people will die
and their small replacements will bring joy
and this will make sense to someone
removed from any sense of loss.
I, too, will die a little and carry on,
doing some paperwork, driving myself
home. The sky is simply overcast,
nothing is any less than it was
yesterday or the day before. In short,
there's no reason or every reason
why I'm choosing to think of this now.
The short-lived holiness
true lovers know, making them unaccountable
except to spirit and themselves—suddenly
I want to be that insufferable and selfish,
that sharpened and tuned.
I'm going to think of what it means
to be an animal crossing a highway,
to be a human without a useful prayer
setting off on one of those journeys
we humans take. I don't expect anything
to change. I just want to be filled up
a little more with what exists,
tipped toward the laughter which understands
I'm nothing and all there is.
By evening, the promised storm
will arrive. A few in small boats
will be taken by surprise.
There will be survivors, and even they will die.

"Choosing to Think of It" by Stephen Dunn. No other bibliographic information available. Presented here as published at   

Image credit: "Storm Wave," by unknown artist, found at this link (originally black and white).



  1. No bibliographic info? Is he not the Stephen Dunn who won the Pulitzer Prize in 2001?

    1. Yes, THAT Stephen Dunn. But at the time of posting, I couldn't locate a definitive source for the poem.


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