Lloyd Schwartz

In Purgatory
August 21, 2020 Schwartz Lloyd

Not easy.

Nothing came easy.

Nothing ever came easy.

Everything was hard.

Too hard.

Harder than it had to be.


Did everything have to be so hard?

Harder than it had to be?

So much harder?


Did anything ever come easy?


Can I remember anything—anything easier?


Could anyone have wanted it that way?

Who could have wanted it that way?

Look in the mirror.

Did I want it that way?

Did I want everything to be hard?

Harder than it had to be?

Who would want anything to be hard?

Who would want everything to be hard?

Harder than it had to be.

Look in the mirror.


There’s no explanation.

Nothing comes easy.

Harder than it has to be.


Lloyd Schwartz is the Frederick S. Troy Professor of English Emeritus and taught in the MFA Program at UMass Boston. The author of five books of poetry, including the forthcoming Who’s on First? New and Selected Poems, his poems have been chosen for The Pushcart Prize, The Best American Poetry, and The Best of the Best American Poetry. His publications include the Library of America edition of Elizabeth Bishop, the centennial edition of Bishop’s Prose, and Music In—and On—the Air, a collection of his music reviews for NPR’s Fresh Air. He was awarded the 1994 Pulitzer Prize for Criticism and a 2019 Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship in poetryHe is the current poet laureate of Somerville, Massachusetts.