My Noiseless Entourage: Poemsby Charles Simic
Both sharp and sympathetic, the
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This new collection of poems from Charles Simic demonstrates once again his wit, moral acuity, and brilliant use of imagery. His settings are a farmhouse porch, a used-clothing store, empty station platforms; his subjects love, futility, and the sense of an individual life lived among a crowd of literal and imaginary presences.
Both sharp and sympathetic, the poems of this collection confirm Simic's place as one of the most important and appealing poets of our time.
I'm still living at all the old addresses,
Wearing dark glasses even indoors,
On the hush-hush sharing my bed
With phantoms, visiting in the kitchen
After midnight to check the faucet.
I'm late for school, and when I get there
No one seems to recognize me.
I sit disowned, sequestered and withdrawn.
These small shops open only at night
Where I make my unobtrusive purchases,
These back-door movie houses in seedy neighborhoods
Still showing grainy films of my life,
The hero always full of extravagant hope
Losing it all in the end?-whatever it was-
Then walking out into the cold, disbelieving light
Waiting close-lipped at the exit.
"Few contemporary poets have been as influential-or as inimitable- as Charles Simic."-THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW
- Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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Read an Excerpt
DESCRIPTION OF A LOST THING
It never had a name,
Nor do I remember how I found it.
I carried it in my pocket
Like a lost button
Except it wasn't a button.
On rain-slicked streets.
It led a quiet, unremarkable existence
Like a shadow in a dream,
An angel on a pin,
And then it vanished.
The years passed with their row
Of nameless stations,
Till somebody told me this is it!
And fool that I was,
I got off on an empty platform
With no town in sight.
This street could use a bit of shade
And the same goes for that small boy
Playing alone in the sun,
A shadow to dart after him like a black kitten.
His parents sit in a room with shades drawn.
The stairs to the cellar
Are hardly used any more
Except for an occasional prowler.
Like a troop of traveling actors dressed to play Hamlet,
The evening shadows come.
They spend their days hidden in the trees
Outside the old courthouse.
Now comes the hard part:
What to do with the stones in the graveyard?
The sun doesn't care for ambiguities,
But I do. I open my door and let them in.
Copyright © 2005 by Charles Simic
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.
Requests for permission to make copies of any part of the work should be mailed to the following address: Permissions Department, Harcourt, Inc., 6277 Sea Harbor Drive, Orlando, Florida 32887-6777.
Meet the Author
CHARLES SIMIC was born in Belgrade and emigrated to the United States in 1954. He is the author of many books of poetry and prose. Among other honors, he received the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1990 and served as the Poet Laureate of the United States in 2007–2008.
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