No Song I Know

No Song I Know

No Song I Know

Arts has moved! You can find new stories here.
A weekly poem, read by the author.
March 8 2000 3:00 AM

No Song I Know

in homage W.C.W. 1914

Advertisement

If while the Symposium continues
& the avid speakers speak & the list-
eners in folding chairs listen
without me, unwanted & slunk
away last night like a kicked dog,
& the sun above Covington has burst
like an egg yolk
splendid on this chill March morning—
if I, excluded, run in sunshine
high above the shining choppy river—
away from pavement & gravel & onto grass
worn from winter, & storm-debris underfoot
& my legs muscled & swift & unerring,
arms swinging in relief knowing nothing
of hurt or Guesstheyputyouinyourplace!—
if, head high & stunned
at the ease of joy—
why am I surprised?

"How happy to be unwanted!
How good to be alone!
I am best so."

Wild forsythia like yellow flame.
A bird sweetly singing, no song I know. 

Joyce Carol Oates' most recent book is We Were the Mulvaneys, a novel. She is on the faculty at Princeton University.