Since posting the speech by George Saunders I’ve been searching, without success for the poem he mentions by Hayden Carruth, who late in life claims he’s “mostly Love, now.” [Poem found since posting this! A kind reader copied it into the comments below]
But in that search I discovered some of the poetry which makes that proclamation so believable.
I’ll share one with you. See if you agree with me.
The Cows At Night
by Hayden Carruth –
The moon was like a full cup tonight,
too heavy, and sank in the mist
soon after dark, leaving for light
faint stars and the silver leaves
of milkweed beside the road,
gleaming before my car.
Yet I like driving at night
in summer and in Vermont:
the brown road through the mist
of mountain-dark, among farms
so quiet, and the roadside willows
opening out where I saw
the cows. Always a shock
to remember them there, those
great breathings close in the dark.
I stopped, and took my flashlight
to the pasture fence. They turned
to me where they lay, sad
and beautiful faces in the dark,
and I counted them–forty
near and far in the pasture,
turning to me, sad and beautiful
like girls very long ago
who were innocent, and sad
because they were innocent,
and beautiful because they were
sad. I switched off my light.
But I did not want to go,
not yet, nor knew what to do
if I should stay, for how
in that great darkness could I explain
anything, anything at all.
I stood by the fence. And then
very gently it began to rain.
NOTE: A reader found the poem I was looking for and kindly copied it into his comment below–thank you so much J.D Garver!
To hear Carruth read his “cow” poem click HERE
To read more of his poetry, go to POETRY.ORG.