Five Poems
Two Kids

Two kids, small
black sculpture.
In trepidation she turns

to him who bends
forward to, as they say,
assist her. It is,

the proposal is,
her fear provokes her,
fear of a frog

crouching at the far
end of this banal, small,
heavy hunk of metal

must have cost a 
pretty penny so
to arouse in mind’s

back recesses
a comfortable sense
of incest? Or else

the glass table top on which it sits
so isolates this meager action
—or else the vegetation,

the fern stalks, beside them
hang over, making privacy
a seeming thought

of these two who,
as Keats said, will never move
nor will any of it

beyond the moment, 
the small minutes of some hour,
like waiting in a dentist’s office.


One World

Tonight possibly they’ll
invite us down to the barricades
finally sans some tacit
racism or question of our authenticity.

No one will be ashamed he
has to face the prospect
of being blown up alone in
the privacy of his own home.

One can be looted, burned,
bombed, etc., in company,
a Second World War sequel for real,
altogether, now and forever.



Thanks for
what will be 
the memory
if it is.



The light now meets
with the shuddering branch.
What I see
distorts the image.

This is an age
of slow determinations,
goes up the stairs
with dulled will.

Who would accept death
as an end
thinks he can
do what he wants to.


The Faces

The faces with anticipated youth
look out from the current
identifications, judge or salesman,
the neighbor, the man who killed,

mattering only as the sliding world
they betoken, the time it never
mattered to accumulate, the fact that
nothing mattered but for what one

could make of it, some passing,
oblique pleasure, a pain immense
in its intensity, a sly but
insistent yearning to outwit it

all, be different, move far, far
away, avoid forever the girl
next door, whose cracked, wrinkled
smile will persist, still know you.

Robert Creeley (1926–2005) was one of the great poets of the twentieth century. Caves (Paradigm Press) was published in early 2005 in a limited edition. Other works include Earth, a collection of his last poems which was published by the University of California postmortem, as well as an essay Whitman in Age. In 2005, Conjunctions published memorial tributes to Creeley by nearly one hundred fellow writers in its online edition.