PoemJazz: “Antique,” by Robert Pinsky


ROBERT PINSKY: Next poem, “Antique.” And the musicians will start again. [MUSIC PLAYING] I drowned. I drowned in the fire. I drowned in the fire of having you. I drowned in the fire of having you. I burned. I burned in the river of not having you. I drowned in the fire of having you. I burned in the river of not having you. We lived together for hours. We lived together for hours in
a house of a thousand rooms, and we were parted for a thousand years. Ten minutes ago. Ten minutes ago we raised our children. They cover the Earth. And they have forgotten that we existed. It was not the worldly illusion of maya. It was certainly not a
ladder to perfection. No, it was this cold sunlight,
falling on this warm Earth. When I turned– when I
turned, you went to hell. When your ship fled the battle I
followed you and lost the world without regret, but with
stormy recriminations. Someday– someday, far down
that corridor of horror, the future– someday, far down that
corridor of horror, the future, somebody who buys this
picture of you for the frame at a stall in a dwindled city. That person will study
your face and decide to harbor it a little while longer
from the waters of anonymity and the acids of breath. I drowned in the fire of having you. I burned in the river of not having you. We lived together for hours in
a house of a thousand rooms, and we were parted for a thousand years. Someday– someday far down
that corridor of horror, the future, somebody who
buys this picture of you for the frame at a stall in the dwindled
city– that person will study your face and decide to harbor it a little while
longer from the waters of anonymity and the acids of breath. Because I drowned in
the fire of having you. And I burned in the
river of not having you. When I turned you went to hell. And when your ship fled the battle
I followed you and lost the world. But I drowned. I drowned in the fire of having you. And I burned. I burned in the river of not having you.

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