Five Poems, Five Days: Part III

When One Has Lived A Long Time Alone

by Galway Kinnell


When one has lived a long time alone,
one likes alike the pig, who brooks no deferment
of gratification, and the porcupine, or thorned pig,
who enters the cellar but not the house itself
because of eating down the cellar stairs on the way up,
and one likes the worm, who by bunching herself together
and expanding works her way through the ground,
no less than the butterfly, who totters full of worry
among the day lilies, as they darken,
and more and more one finds one likes
any other species better than one's own,
which has gone amok, making one self-estranged,
when one has lived a long time alone.

from When One Has Lived A Long Time Alone, published by Alfred A. Knopf

(This whole cycle, printed at the back of the book, is one of my favorite poems ever, but I didn't feel like I could really get away with publishing all eleven parts here.)


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