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The Past

A poem by Michael Ryan

Michael Ryan
Michael Ryan
  • It shows up one summer in a greatcoat,
  • storms through the house confiscating,
  • says it must be paid and quickly,
  • says it must take everything.
  • Your children stare into their cornflakes,
  • your wife whispers only once to stop it,
  • because she loves you and she sees it
  • darken the room suddenly like a stain.
  • What did you do to deserve it,
  • ruining breakfast on a balmy day?
  • Kiss your loved ones. Night is coming.
  • There was no life without it anyway.


Michael Ryan is director of the MFA program in poetry at the University of California, Irvine. He’s the author of five books of poems, an autobiography, a memoir, and a collection of essays about poetry and writing. Ryan has been a finalist for the National Book Award and winner of the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize and Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, among many other distinctions for his work. This Morning, his new book of poems, has just been published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. “The Past” is from New and Selected Poems, by Michael Ryan. Copyright © 2004 by Michael Ryan. Reprinted by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved. The author’s photo is by Chi-lin Sun.

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Michael Ryan
Michael Ryan
  • It shows up one summer in a greatcoat,
  • storms through the house confiscating,
  • says it must be paid and quickly,
  • says it must take everything.
  • Your children stare into their cornflakes,
  • your wife whispers only once to stop it,
  • because she loves you and she sees it
  • darken the room suddenly like a stain.
  • What did you do to deserve it,
  • ruining breakfast on a balmy day?
  • Kiss your loved ones. Night is coming.
  • There was no life without it anyway.


Michael Ryan is director of the MFA program in poetry at the University of California, Irvine. He’s the author of five books of poems, an autobiography, a memoir, and a collection of essays about poetry and writing. Ryan has been a finalist for the National Book Award and winner of the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize and Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, among many other distinctions for his work. This Morning, his new book of poems, has just been published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. “The Past” is from New and Selected Poems, by Michael Ryan. Copyright © 2004 by Michael Ryan. Reprinted by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved. The author’s photo is by Chi-lin Sun.

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Comments
1

U SOUND LIKE UR DEALING WITH ONGOING AND CHRONIC DEPRESSION

as a cousin of 2 bouts of it i know that feeling of AMBUSH far 2 well

best survivor!!

perfect poem!! ;-D)

March 21, 2012

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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