Saturday, October 4, 2008

Hayden Carruth: "we always tell/each other what we already know"

Hayden Carruth died earlier this week, age 87.
About Carruth and his work, the poet Galway Kinnell says, "This is not a man who sits down to 'write a poem'; rather, some burden of understanding and feeling, some need to know, forces his poems into being. Thoreau said, 'Be it life or death, what we crave is reality.' So it is with Carruth. And even in hell, knowledge itself bestows a halo around the consciousness with, at moments, attains it." (from the Academy of American Poets)

His collection "Scrambled Eggs & Whiskey: Poems, 1991-1995," received the National Book Award for Poetry in 1996. He was a self-described anarchist.

Here's one of his poems to remember him by.


Sometimes we don’t say anything. Sometimes
we sit on the deck and stare at the masses of
goldenrod where the garden used to be
and watch the color change form day to day,
the high yellow turning to mustard and at last
to tarnish. Starlings flitter in the branches
of the dead hornbeam by the fence. And are these
therefore the procedures of defeat? Why am I
saying all this to you anyway since you already
know it? But of course we always tell
each other what we already know. What else?
It’s the way love is in a late stage of the world.

1 comment:

Special Needs Mama said...

Even more than the poem, I love the picture of Hayden Carruth with a laptop. You can almost imagine he has Linux installed in it. Modern man in modern times.

Site Meter