Poem for the Day: November 22nd, 2021

Wight by Stanley Plumly

In the dark we disappear, pure being.
Our mirror images, impure being.

Being and becoming (Heidegger), being and
nothingness (Sartre)—which is purer being?

Being alone is no way to be: thus
loneliness is the test of pure being.

Nights in love I fell too far or not quite
far enough—one pure, one impure being.

Clouds, snow, mist, the dragon's breath on water,
smoke from fire—a metaphor's pure being.

Stillness and more stillness and the light locked
deep inside—both pure and impure being.

Is is the verb of being, I the noun—
or pronoun for the purists of being.

I was, I am, I looked within and saw
nothing very clearly: purest being.

© 1999 Stanley Plumly. “Wight” first appeared in the May 1999 issue of Poetry Magazine.

Stanley Plumly (1939-2019) was greatly influenced by his working-class background, a fact which is evident in his work. He earned his B.A. at Wilmington College in Ohio and his Ph.D. at Ohio University. During his long career, he taught at the University of Iowa, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and the University of Maryland. He also served as the poet laureate of Maryland for several years. You can read more about his life and work here.

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