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The Taxi

September 10, 2013

The Taxi

When I go away from you
The world beats dead
Like a slackened drum.
I call out for you against the jutted stars
And shout into the ridges of the wind.
Streets coming fast,
One after the other,
Wedge you away from me,
And the lamps of the city prick my eyes
So that I can no longer see your face.
Why should I leave you,
To wound myself upon the sharp edges of the night?

–Amy Lowell 1925

COMMENTARY: The Hippo-poetess, as Ezra Pound cruelly (and memorably)
called the somewhat corpulent Lowell, wrote poems that were bony and
free of verbal flab.  An imagist, much influenced by the Tang Chinese
poets, Lowell strove after concentrated poems that were “hard and
clear, never blurred or indefinite.” In “The Taxi,” maybe her most
famous poem, the hardness comes primarily in the unusual descriptive
choices “jutted stars,” “ridges of the wind” “lamps prick,” “sharp
edges of the night.” By giving edges and corners to the bodiless,
Lowell makes the emotional pain of separation into a physical
presence.

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From → Love Poems

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