Jan/Feb 2015 • Vol. XXXVII No. 1 PoetryJanuary 1, 2015 |

La Durée

Proust read Bergson, then he wrote his poem. I thought if I read Bergson too I'd figure out a way To say what I've been gesturing at all my life Without success: la durée, duration, time, My own time, by which I mean your own time too. I don't know why: the days go by without event, Resembling one another in the main and in the details, Each remaining utterly individual in its moment As it disappears. The gray day dawns and turns to snow Accumulating on the cars and on the parking lot Below my window, other cars roll by along the street I can see from my desk, while Henri Bergson floats adrift On confusions about quantity and quality, and I— I go on reading. Chapter Two: riflings about numbers By a man who gave up mathematics for philosophy Too soon, and missed what they'd discovered— Numbers aren't constructed out of space or human time, But from a pure idea of order at some Key West of the mind Beyond duration and experience, where they last forever. It's a great idea, yet we

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John Koethe’s The Swimmer, has just been published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. His previous books include North Point North: New and Selected (2002), Ninety-Fifth Street (2009), which received the Lenore Marshall Award, and ROTC Kills (2012).

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