Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, A SUMMING UP, by DAVID IGNATOW



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A SUMMING UP, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Perhaps a table set for two, or a garden
Last Line: They have become so familiar to us.
Subject(s): Conversation


Perhaps a table set for two, or a garden
at the end of day, but no more.
Mostly a walk through vacant spaces
in which sound assails us, and shapes
that are not visible oppress us with their weight.
We feel them about our faces, arms and shoulders
but see nothing and nobody, concentrated
on one thing -- to eliminate or at least prepare
for those sounds.

If we are able by a sudden turn down one street
to block off those noises and those weights
upon us, we may find ourselves in a small room
fit for two persons, with a table between,
where they may eat or listen in silence
to one another's complaint of the outside --
and a garden that we had no idea could exist
in the rear. As we enter, its odor assails us
and since we are then out in the open
these sounds again and a noise of the invisible
shapes colliding among themselves.
Are the voices of these shapes in conflict?
We sit there but we cannot communicate their beings,
the noises in us, it seems, and the shapes
we cannot see making our bodies their weight,
they have become so familiar to us.





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