By Raymond Carver (1938 - 1988)
And did you get what
you wanted from this life, even so?
And what did you want?
To call myself beloved, to feel myself
beloved on the earth.
A simple yet powerful statement of that which, I believe, we all want. May we all achieve it!
Raymond Carver was best known as a short story writer, in the style known as dirty realism, but I am much fonder of his poetry.
At this link is a wonderful video about his life, with readings of some poems, embedded in an article with copies of others.
The piece above was written when he was dying of lung cancer and was well aware of the fact. It is the last poem in his book A New Path to the Waterfall: Last Poems. Wikipedia tells me it is on his tombstone, along with another, Gravy. There are more poems here.
Like his stories, his poems use simple, direct language. They use it in a way that is new and beautiful, that stays with you, e.g.:
Toward evening the wind changes. Boats
still out on the bay
head for shore. A man with one arm
sits on the keep of a rotting-away
vessel, working on a glimmering net.
He raises his eyes. Pulls at something
with his teeth, and bites hard.
I go past without a word.
Reduced to confusion
by the variableness of this weather,
the importunities of my heart, I keep
going. When I turn back to look
I'm far enough away
to see that man caught in a net.
Poems and photos used in ‘I Wish I’d Written This’ remain the property of the copyright holders (usually their authors).