Jay Parini

Poem with Allusions
January 10, 2013 Parini Jay

Poem With Allusions


The thoughts that come on little cat feet

aren’t mine, of course.

I’m prey to everything they’ve said,

and half believe in heaven and its hymns.

I’ve made my way through Chapman’s Homer

and watched my hands, like ragged claws,

crawl over you at night.

You didn’t seem to mind.

You’ve read a lot and heard a lot.

We all have, dear.

We don’t know who said what to whom

or why or when.  The faces in the metro

look the same, each having been

through birth and copulation, even death itself.

I’d not thought death undid so many.

In country churchyards on the mossy stones,

their epitaphs may not impress the critics,

but they won’t much care.

Jay Parini is a poet, novelist, and biographer who teaches at Middlebury College.  His latest volume of poems is NEW AND COLLECTED POEMS: 1975-2015.  BORGES AND ME, a memoir of his travels in the highlands of Scotland with Jorge Luis Borges in 1971, was published in 2020.