Poem by Howard Nemerov

People are putting up storm windows now, 
Or were, this morning, until the heavy rain 
Drove them indoors. So, coming home at noon, 
I saw storm windows lying on the ground, 
Frame-full of rain; through the water and glass 
I saw the crushed grass, how it seemed to stream 
Away in lines like seaweed on the tide 
Or blades of wheat leaning under the wind. 
The ripple and splash of rain on the blurred glass 
Seemed that it briefly said, as I walked by, 
Something that I should have liked to say to you, 
Something . . .the dry grass bent under the pane 
Brimful of bouncing water . . . something of 
A swaying clarity which blindly echoes 
This lonely afternoon of memories 
And missed desires, while the wintry rain 
Unspeakable the distance in the mind!) 
Runs on the standing windows and away. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Howard Nemerov (1920-1991) served twice as Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress — from 1963 to 1964 and again from 1988 to 1990. For The Collected Poems of Howard Nemerov (1977), he won the National Book Award for Poetry, Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, and Bollingen Prize. Nemerov was brother to photographer Diane Arbus and father to art historian Alexander Nemerov, Professor of the History of Art and American Studies at Stanford University. (Read more at