Saturday, April 12

Posted by Laurel Garver on Saturday, April 12, 2014 6 comments
by Mark Strand (1934 —)

In a field
I am the absence
Photo by grtguru for
of field.
This is
always the case.
Wherever I am
I am what is missing.

When I walk
I part the air
and always
the air moves in
to fill the spaces
where my body's been.

We all have reasons
for moving.
I move
to keep things whole.

Source: The Contemporary American Poets. New York: New American Library, 1969. p. 330.

Spare and deceptively simple, this poem addresses the nature of reality. What is presence? What is absence? How does the universe fit together? What is my place in it?

What lines or images strike you?

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  1. Deceptively simple, yes... But oh so powerful. "I move / to keep things whole." BAM. Thank you for introducing me to this poet; I will look up his work and share it far and wide. And I'll share your blog far and wide, too--one of my favorite finds in this A-to-Z :)

    Thanks for visiting me at Quiet Laughter yesterday--so very glad you did!

    1. Thanks so much, Guilie. This was a favorite from an undergrad poetry class. Strand is a prolific writer and teacher, still sharing his love of words.

      I'm delighted you enjoy my blog so much. It has been incredibly fun to meet like-minded people such as you through the A-Z.

  2. Lovely! I grew up in the country, and this reminded me of the sense of connectedness I always felt walking in a field when I was a kid. The sky above, the rows stretching away, and the sense of being rooted to the earth.

    1. Oh dear, I've really fallen behind on the lovely comments here at home while out visiting people.

      I also grew up rural, and this spoke to my sense of connectedness to the land and nature.

  3. There is a wholeness is parting the air, a fulfillment that cannot be obtained anywhere else. This poem brought back memories when I stood on a hill in the middle of a field letting the wind part itself as it blew past. Deep breath. :) Great post with great thoughts. :D

    1. Glad you found this so moving. There is a lovely sense of connection and flow here, as the poet considers how he fits in nature and the universe.