“The Vices of the Evening” by Charles Simic

Charles Simic


The way the light and shadow
Go on with their tug-of-war
While the night busies itself
Behind our backs

To catch us by surprise
With a single burnt matchstick
Left in someone’s hand,
Who forgot why he lit it,

Unless it was for children
To find their way
Through weedy gardens
And narrow back alleys

from Rattle #17, Summer 2002


Charles Simic: “When you read a nice poem, somebody else’s poem, you become attuned to the words on the page. The language seems so rich, so beautiful, imagination making connections. You do need the reader as a collaborator. There could be other experiences beyond that of course. There might be some thoughts, some ideas emerging out of that, but I think the most basic fundamental thing is to give the reader something pleasurable.”

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