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Selected Poems of Paul Auster

MATRIX AND DREAM

Inaudible things, chipped
nightly away:
breath, underground
through winter: well-words
down the quarried light

of lullaby rill
and chasm.

You pass.
Between fear and memory,
the agate
of your footfall turns
crimson
in the dust of childhood.

Thirst: and coma: and leaf--
from the gaps
of the no longer known: the unsigned message,
buried in my body.

The white linen
hanging on the line. The wormwood
crushed
in the field.

The smell of mint
from the ruin.

From Wall Writing (1971-1975)

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CHORAL

Whinnied by flint,
in the dream-gait that cantered you across
the clover-swarmed
militant field:

this bit
of earth that inches up
to us again, shattered
by the shrill, fife-sharp tone
that jousts you open, million-fold,
in your utmost
heretic word.

Slowly,
you dip your finger into the wound
from which my voice
escapes.

From Wall Writing (1971-1975)

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CREDO

The infinite

tiny things. For once merely to breathe
in the light of the infinite

tiny things
that surround us. Or nothing
can escape.

the lure of this darkness, the eye
will discover that we are
only what has made us less
than we are. To say nothing. To say:
our very lives

depend on it.

From Facing the Music (1978-1979)

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BETWEEN THE LINES

Stone-pillowed, the ways
of remoteness. And written in your palm,
the road.

Home, then, is not home
but the distance between
blessed
and unblessed. And whoever puts himself
into the skin
of his brother, will know
what sorrow is
to the seventh year
beyond the seventh year
of the seventh year.

And divide his children in half.

And wrestle in darkness
with an angel.

From Facing the Music (1978-1979)

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