Aesthetic Realism Online Library Poetry by Eli Siegel


 
Quiet, Tears, Babies

Quiet in the street,
In the street with houses having babies,
Lately born, lately born.
These babies now are growing,
And the street is quiet now,
At half past six in the afternoon.
Quiet is the street, quiet is the street;
But now, later, a growing baby is crying.
O crying soul, hardly heard,
For you cry not so loud,
O growing, crying baby,
In the quiet, quiet street,
With men, with women, quietly slowly passing,
Who were babies once, who cried once,
    and who now make men and women and babies cry, 
    and who cry, and who cry now, O but they do.
Quiet street, crying babies,
Sun slowly going down,
Men and women quietly going up and down 
    the quiet street;
Tears, God dear, tears.


From Hot Afternoons Have Been in Montana: Poems (Definition Press)
© 1957 by Eli Siegel


Throughout this poem there is a drama, a joining and an apartness, of babies and street. And we can say that this is the crucial drama of each of our lives: it is the drama of self and world. We are each like one of those beginning humans: just ourselves, with a world outside of us that seems — like that street — impersonal and different. 

....A baby, and we, can cry because the world confuses us; or because there is something we want from it that we don't understand and can't express.

Ellen Reiss, "The Energy of Respect," The Right of Aesthetic Realism to Be Known,no. 1433, 20 September 2000.


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