Tag Archives: Lawrence Raab

My Soul

I found this poem while I was in graduate school in Toronto in the 90s, in one of the New Yorkers lying around the PIMS Common Room from their subscription. I have returned to it over and over again since that time (sigh), and I am putting it on my blog so I can find it more easily, darn it.

“My Soul is a Light Housekeeper”
(Error in the printing of the line “My soul is a lighthouse keeper,”
by an unknown female poet.)

Bored with the high drama of watching,
I see myself bound always to your absence,
sending out my pure circle of light so you
will know where I am, and how close
you might come to disaster. Imagine, love,
the tedium of this watch. On almost every day
nothing happens. And isn’t it wrong to yearn
for a great storm just to feel important?
I’ll let you go, then. Why shouldn’t my house
be my own, and my soul its keeper?
This work I needn’t take so seriously
since I’ve learned what pleases me, the light
of late afternoon through that window,
the intricate cobwebs I won’t disturb.
I know you don’t want to think of me
not always thinking of you, brave and imperilled.
I’m sure you’ll write to say: How can you change
so completely? You’re not the woman
I thought I knew. And I’m not,
but understand, dear, it wasn’t such a great change.
Imagine you could have seen that side of me
at the beginning, when we walked
for hours along the shore, and you were so certain
I was yours just because you loved me.

—Lawrence Raab, from The Probable World (Penguin Books, 2000)