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On Percy Bysshe Shelley
West Wind, 8
The young, tall English poet–soon to die, soon to sail on his small boat into the blue haze and then the storm and then under the gray waves’ spinning threshold–went over to Pisa to meet a friend; met him; spent with him a sunny afternoon. I love this poet, which means nothing here or there, but is like a garden in my heart. So my love is a gift to myself. And I think of him, on that July afternoon in Pisa, while his friend Hunt told him stories pithy and humorous, of their friends in England, so that he began to laugh, so that his tall, lean body shook, and his long legs couldn’t hold him, and he had to lean up against the building, seized with laughter, abundant and unstoppable; and so he leaned in the wild sun, against the stones of the building, with the tears flying from his eyes–full of foolishness, howling, hanging on to the stones, crawling with laughter, clasping his own body as it began to fly apart in the nonsense, the sweetness, the intelligence, the bright happiness falling, like tiny gold flowers, like the sunlight itself, the lilt of Hunt’s voice, on this simple afternoon, with a friend, in Pisa.

  • Mary Oliver

New favorite word.

Poems by Zbigniew Herbert
including "Report from the Besieged City"

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