from COLLECTED POEMS
Of you I have no memory, keep no promise.
But, as I read, drink, wait, and watch the surf,
Faithful, almost forgotton, your demand
Becomes all others, and this loneliness
The need that is your presence. In the dark,
Beneath the lamp, attentive, like a sound
I listen for, you draw near -- closer, surer
Than speech, or sight, or love, or love returned.
Commentary by Donald Justice
This dark little poem is about trying to come to terms with some hidden
aspect of the self not wholly accessible to reason. The style has the
beautiful stark dignity of many of Bowers's poems, but there is another side
to his work which should be mentioned as well--a kind of cheerful stoicism
that stemmed from his enormous zest for life. But then Bowers is not the
first poet to live brightly and write darkly.