I first read Peter Gizzi’s poem, “It Was Raining in Delft,” in the anthology, Isn’t It Romantic: 100 Love Poems by Younger American Poets, published by Wave Books ten years ago now. Though its poets may no longer be quite so “younger,” it’s a terrific anthology, and Gizzi’s poem is one among many that have stayed with me.
“It Was Raining in Delft” is indeed a love poem: the speaker wanders through the Dutch city, imagining the phone call he will soon make to his faraway loved-one. But it is equally a place poem — of the heightened, stripped-bare world of the sleep-deprived traveler, as he manages to fit his temporal confusion, the simple, sublime existence before him, into words:
Just what you’d suspect: a market with flowers and matrons, handbags.
Beauty walks this world. It ages everything.
I am far and I am an animal and I am just another I-am poem, a we-see poem, a they-love poem.
The green. All the different windows.
There is so much stone here. And grass. So beautiful each translucent electric blade.
And the noise. Cheers folding into traffic. These things. Things that have been already said many times:
leaf, zipper, sparrow, lintel, scarf, window shade.
Read the entire poem on the website of the Academy of American Poets.