Eleanor Lerman, “Now I Walk Through This Human-Built World”


I remember you on the cold streets of Montreal
a blonde buying chocolate in a French city full
of synagogues. That was the year of the Upanishads,
when love was universal. I know that you want
to move someplace warmer now, but I have
seen you in boots and gloves, with ice glistening
in your hair. It is too late for me to change
I am here. I am content. I am still at work

Now I walk through this human-built world
with my little bag of shopping and my dreams
Light is laid like a tablecloth across the
afternoon and even the thinnest, purest saints
will eat. Quietly, people leave their offices
Quietly, they cross the square, stroll through
the park, heading home. There is nothing more
to be afraid of. I hope that you will stay with me
I am happy. Darling, even if I am lost

The Sensual World Re-Emerges is the fifth collection of poems by Eleanor Lerman. There was a 25-year gap between her first and second collections; as Lerman explained, “I just kind of moved away from poetry, because it was making me experience a lot of very raw feelings that, when I wasn’t writing, were making me think I was crazy and getting way out of control… I decided that maybe I could do this again, no matter what that means confronting. I don’t know where I got the courage from, because I knew that all kinds of cans of worms were going to get opened again. The strange thing is that doing the actual work turned out to be remarkably easy: the issues I had to (have to) deal with around the work are still very difficult.”

Other Lerman poems include “The Marfa Lights” (published in Connotation Press), “Starfish” (Ralph), “What the Dark-Eyed Angel Knows” (The Writer’s Almanac), and “About Patti Boyd and Me” and “Starina” (from the Poetry Foundation website).

30 March 2010 | poetry |