Nancy Pagh

I Like To Be Still
After Pablo Neruda

I like to be still: it is as though there never was
such a thing as waking, and crows beyond the window
are distant as the beaches with private hotels.
No one strips the bedding. No one sweeps the sand.

Everyone chooses not to touch some things.
And the soul of these things goes on dreaming
and seems far away like our own red birth.
I am like the word annunciation.

I like to be still in this room in the morning.
A sleeping cat pushes his back to my spine.
There is nothing to look forward to
so much as fondling his head and the sound he will make.

You misunderstand my silence. All things are my soul
and the quietest things are me most of all. This is true:
I am not entertaining in the way that you want.
My breasts never warranted an exclamation mark.

I like to be still: it is as though there never was
possibility then possibility taken away beyond windows
and stars and the high afternoon so remote like you
and everyone choosing to touch other things.


“I Like to Be Still” is reprinted from After (Floating Bridge Press, 2008)

Nancy Pagh has authored two award-winning collections of poetry, No Sweeter Fat (Autumn House Press book award) and After (Floating Bridge Press chapbook competition), and one book of nonfiction (At Home Afloat). Her work appears in numerous publications, including Prairie Schooner, Crab Creek Review, Poetry Northwest, Rattle, The Bellingham Review,and O Magazine. She was born in the island community of Anacortes, Washington, and currently teaches at Western Washington University in Bellingham.

One thought on “Nancy Pagh

  1. This has to be one of the most beautiful poems I have ever read. I look forward to reading and reading it again. Thank you for sharing it!

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