Friday, November 28, 2014

Poem for the Weekend: Heather McHugh


The book in which I found Heather McHugh's poem states that she "believes, almost desperately, in language." As do I. McHugh was born in San Diego to Canadian parents, was educated at Harvard, and owes a bit to Emily Dickinson. Read her biography here.

The Typewriter’s the Kind

by Heather McHugh

The typewriter’s the kind
of heavy gray that’s rare these days
and good for leaning on. I sit
in front of it, with holes

torn in my meanings, or a heart
so full of complication I can’t even
start to start. And on
the radio the cello’s

unaccompanied, and on the hour
the news is entendu. I lay my arms
upon the typewriter, my head
upon my arms, and breathe and
breathe and breathe, and there

is all the cool
immutability a fevered
human needs, its current humming constant like

the speed of light or fact
of water (there is death
on earth this moment, there

is death on earth this moment … Always is already). Then
I can get up, and go about
my work, which is to love to see

the endless world’s unsavability.


  1. The ... love to see the endless world’s unsavability … brings a poignant twist to this poem.

  2. Yes, never thought about what I do in those terms but it makes a certain pessimistic sense ;)


"As soon as we express something, we devalue it strangely. We believe ourselves to have dived down into the depths of the abyss, and when we once again reach the surface, the drops of water on our pale fingertips no longer resemble the ocean from which they came...Nevertheless, the treasure shimmers in the darkness unchanged." ---Franz Kafka