Reading in Bed
by evening light, at the window, where wind blows
it’s not enough to wake with morning
as a child, the insistent urge of habit
sounds, to write a poem, to pore over one’s past
recall ultimate orders one has since doubted
in despair. Inner reality returns
of moonlight over water at Gloucester, as
fine a harbor as the Adriatic, Charles said, before the big storm
blew up to land moorings, shards against sand
of memory at midnight; ah yes the dream begins
of lips pressed against yours over waves, tides,
hour-long auto rides into dawn, when time
pounds a mystery on the beach, to no death out of reach .
January 9, 1970
John Wieners, born in Milton MA, was a Beat poet and member of the San Francisco Renaissance. He earned a BA from Boston College and studied at Black Mountain College with Charles Olson, who remained a life-long mentor. Wieners often visited Olson in Gloucester, and for a period of time he lived on Dennison Street, at the edge of Dogtown.
Wieners’ honors include awards from the Poets Foundation, the New Hope Foundation, and the National Institute of Arts and Letters, as well as a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. For the last 30 years of his life he lived at 44 Joy Street, on Beacon Hill, in Boston. Supplication: The Selected Poems of John Wieners, was published in October, 2015. This poem was written on the day before Charles Olson died at New York Hospital from liver cancer.