George Oppen e Sung Hwan Kim


Because I am not silent,
The poem is bad.




In this nation
Which is in some sense
Our home. Covenant!

The covenant is
There shall be peoples.



Obsessed, bewildered

By the shipwreck
Of the singular

We have chosen the meaning
Of being numerous



Strange that the youngest people I know
Live in the oldest buildings
Scattered about the city
In the dark rooms
Of the past—and the immigrants,

The black
Rectangular buildings
Of the Immigrants.

They are the children of the middle class.

‘The pure products of America—‘

The ancient buildings
Jostle each other

In the half-forgotten, that ponderous business.
This Chinese Wall



The light
Of closed pages, tightly closed, packed against each other
Exposes the new day,
The narrow and frightening light
Before a sunrise



Behind their house, behind the back porch
Are the little woods.
She walks into them sometimes
And awaits the birds and the deer.

Looking up she sees the blue bright sky
Above the branches.
If one was born here
How could anyone believe it?



Amor fati
The love of fate.

For which the city alone
is the audience?

Perhaps blasphemous.

Slowly over islands, destinies
Moving steadily pass
And change

In the thin sky
Over islands

Among days

Having only the force
Of days

Most simple
Most difficult



Chorus (androgynous):’Find me
So that I will exist, find my navel
So that it will exist, find my nipples
So that they will exist, find every hair
Of my belly, I am goof (or I am bad),
Find me’.




it is that light
Seeps anywhere, a light for the times

In which the buildings
Stand on low ground, their pediments
Just above the harbor

Absolutely immobile,

Hollow, available, you could enter any buildings,
You could look from from any window
One might wave to himself
From the top of the Empire State Building—


If you can


Phyllis — not neo-classic,
The girl’s name is Phyllis—

Coming home from her first job
On the bus in the bare civic interior
Among those people, the small doors
Opening on the night at the cub
Her heart, she told me, suddenly tight with the happiness—

So small a picture,
A spot of light on the curbs, it cannot demean us

I too am in love down there with the streets
And the square slabs of pavement—

To talk of the house and the neighborhood and the docks

And it is not ‘art’



It is difficult now to speak of poetry—

about those have recognized the range of choices or those who have lived within the life they were born to—. It is not precisely a question of profundity but a different order of experience. One would have to tell what happens in a life, what choices present themselves, what the world is for us, what happens in time, what thought is in the course of a life and therefore what art is, and the isolation of the actual

I would want to talk of rooms and of what they look out on and of basement, the rough walls bearing the marks of the forms, the old marks of wood in the concrete, such solitude at we know—

and the swept floors. Someone, a workman bearing about him, feeling about him that peculiar word like a dishonored fatherhood has swept this solitary floor, this profoundly hidden floor—such solitude as we know.

One must not come to feel that he has a thousand threads
in his hands,
He must somehow see the one thing:
This is the level of art
There are other levels
But there is no other level of art

da Of Being Numerous –
George Oppen



* Installazione di Sung Hwan Kim
** un Grazie di cuore a Dmf Blogger
per avermi fatto conoscere il poeta americano.