This is the saddest excerpt from a poem I have read all week. I read over 120 poems the past few days, which causes a certain madness in the brain and a certain un-quelled longing in the gut. In discovering Robert Hass, I came across this, and it moved me. Then I was meandering online, and it popped up again, randomly. I figured I must share it. Maybe it will mean nothing to you.

(I only realized how appropriate the title of the full poem was, till now. Magic, it exists. I swear.)


September Notebook: Stories

Robert Hass


He found that it was no good trying to tell

what happened that day. Everything he said

seemed fictional the moment that he said it,

the rain, the scent of her hair, what she said

as she was leaving, and why it was important

for him to explain that the car had been parked

under eucalyptus on a hillside, and how velvety

and blurred the trees looked through the windshield;

not, he said, that making fictions might not be

the best way of getting at it, but that nothing he said

had the brute, abject, unassimilated quality

of a wounding experience: the ego in any telling

was already seeing itself as a character, and a character,

he said, was exactly what he was not at that moment,

even as he kept wanting to explain to someone,

to whomever would listen, that she had closed the door

so quietly and so firmly that the beads of rain

on the side window didn’t even quiver.


For the full poem go to:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s