by Charles Simic
Every morning I forget how it is.
I watch the smoke mount
In great strides above the city.
I belong to no one.
Then, I remember my shoes,
How I have to put them on,
How bending over to tie them up
I will look into the earth.
This poem is taken from Charles Simic’s 1971 collection ‘Dismantling the Silence’ . Simic was born in pre-war Belgrade and grew up in Chicago after his family emigrated to the US. Critics have likened his poems to Chinese box puzzles because of the way deeper meanings can be found within an apparently simple structure. In ‘Poem’ the two short stanzas, one looking up and the other down, can be seen both as a simple observation of everyday existence and a profound reflection on the human condition. A good selection of Simic’s work can be found in ‘Looking for Trouble’ published by Faber.
Words and poem contributed from David Underdown