“Love Poem Near the End of the World.” A Poem by Stephen Dunn

From the Late Poet's New Collection

June 13, 2022  By Stephen Dunn

Love Poem Near the End of the World

This is the world I’m tethered to:
clouds, lavender-​tinged, and below them
russet-​going-​on-​green hillsides.
Everywhere various aspiration
of transcendence, like my fickle heart
wishing to redefine itself
as an instrument of hope and generosity,
and flower beds
with just enough rain water
to turn cracked soil into a vast blossoming.
Something keeps me holding on
to a future I didn’t think possible.
There’s sweetness and there’s squalor.
There are sad, almost empty towns
occasionally brightened by fireworks.
And there’s you, my love, once volcanic,
beautifully quiet now.


Love Poem Near the End of the World

Excerpted from The Not Yet Fallen World: New and Selected Poems. Copyright (c) 2022 by Stephen Dunn. Used with permission of the publisher, W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. All rights reserved.

Stephen Dunn
Stephen Dunn
Stephen Dunn (1939–2021) was the author of twenty poetry collections, including the Pulitzer Prize–winning Different Hours. He was a distinguished professor emeritus at Richard Stockton University. Over his six-decade career, he received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, an Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and a Paterson Award for Sustained Literary Achievement, among many other honors.

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