by Elizabeth Bishop
O breath Beneath that loved and celebrated breast, silent, bored really blindly veined, grieves, maybe lives and lets live, passes bets, something moving but invisibly, and with what clamor why restrained I cannot fathom even a ripple. (See the thin flying of nine black hairs four around one five the other nipple, flying almost intolerably on your own breath.) Equivocal, but what we have in common’s bound to be there, whatever we must own equivalents for, something that maybe I could bargain with and make a separate peace beneath within if never with.
I believe in that goodly mansion, his heart, he kept one little place under the skylights where Lucy might have entertainment, if she chose to call. It was not so handsome as the chambers where he lodged his male friends; it was not like the hall where he accommodated his philanthropy, or the library where he treasured his science, still less did it resemble the pavilion where his marriage feast was splendidly spread; yet, gradually, by long and equal kindness, he proved to me that he kept one little closet, over the door of which was written “Lucy’s Room.” I kept a place for him, too—a place of which I never took the measure, either by rule or compass: I think it was like the tent of Peri-Banu. All my life long I carried it folded in the hollow of my hand—yet, released from that hold and constriction, I know not but its innate capacity for expanse might have magnified it into a tabernacle for a host.
— Charlotte Bronte, from Villette.
by Elizabeth Bishop
The moon in the bureau mirror looks out a million miles (and perhaps with pride, at herself, but she never, never smiles) far and away beyond sleep, or perhaps she’s a daytime sleeper. By the Universe deserted, she’d tell it to go to hell, and she’d find a body of water, or a mirror, on which to dwell. So wrap up care in a cobweb and drop it down the well into that world inverted where left is always right, where the shadows are really the body, where we stay awake all night, where the heavens are shallow as the sea is now deep, and you love me.(earlyfrost)
by John Berryman
Age, and the deaths, and the ghosts. Her having gone away in spirit from me. Hosts of regrets come & find me empty. I don’t feel this will change. I don’t want any thing or person, familiar or strange. I don’t think I will sing any more just now; ever. I must start to sit with a blind brow above an empty heart.