to the small poem and the quiet voice within

jack gilbert | the abandoned valley


Can you understand being alone so long
you would go out in the middle of the night
and put a bucket into the well
so you could feel something down there
tug at the other end of the rope?

[from REFUSING HEAVEN, Knopf, 2005]


  1. Anne Emerson

    Oh, that is so painful.

  2. Jackie

    I love Gilbert. Especially when he wrote about his wife dying.

  3. Barbara Larsen

    Jack Gilbert is one of the strongest poets of the last 50 years to my mind. His poem “A Brief For the Defense” from his book “Refusing Heaven” is one of the greatest poems I have ever read. Thanks for including him in Basho’s Road.

  4. Nancy

    No, at least not yet. I am one of the lucky ones. I’m sorry for your lonesomeness. Perhaps it is really just your dream that told you to wake and go quench your thirst and you’re supposed to bring some back for the dog too? But that is only a perspective from a land in the midst of a long hot summer and I do not have a well. Lovely image and I like the poem. Thank you. Really like the things you are finding in the books you “just take off the shelf”.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

© 2024 Bashō's Road

Theme by Anders Noren adapted for M.etropolis by RavanHUp ↑