Robert Creeley : Morning

Since I named checked Bob Creeley in my list of favorite dead poets I thought I’d pull out a couple of poems and maybe win a few more readers for him.


Shadows, on the far wall,
of courtyard, from the sun
back of house, faint

traceries, of the leaves,
the arch of the balcony–
greens, faded white,

high space of flat
blind-sided building
sits opposite this

window, in high door,
across the floor here
from this table

where I’m sitting writing,
feet on cold floor’s
tiles, watching this light.

-Robert Creeley, from Later

Like a shadow, which must be traced backwards to find the origin, this poem draws back. Beginning in shadows, we must follow the poem into the light.

The first stanza sets up the distance; shadows themselves imply it, but further followed by “far wall” then “from the sun” and even at the end with “faint” all work together to give an impression of separation. Next a feeling of age is introduced, the shadows from leaves and balcony are faint, colors are faded, the building is flat and blind.

As we move into the fourth stanza we are getting closer, arriving at “across the floor here” and the aural qualities pick up to highlight this; “high door” suits “floor here” and then in the final stanza the T sounds come clattering in: sitting, writing, feet, tiles, light; F and L sounds compliment: feet, floor, cold, tiles, light. he embeds details, such as he is barefoot, in the kitchen, and writing poetry. These are all necessary details for the picture, but he involves the reader in the act of drawing near, imitating the movement of the poem. He foreshadows his appearance by using the words “traceries” and “white//high space of flat”, invoking paper and writing.

In the final stanza the elements of age run up against the distinctly alive; the sitting, the writing, the watching, even the cold tiles say that the feet are warm. The intent is to awake us, remind us that it is morning, that the world is waking and watching and no longer blind.

The conclusion spins us around from our tracing of the shadows to what he is doing: watching the light. The poem folds back on itself and we can follow it back out through the shadows and on into the sun.


2 thoughts on “Robert Creeley : Morning

  1. I have never paid much attention to Creeley’s work, that apparently was a mistake. Thank you for this poem and my introduction to Mr. Creeley.

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