From Enslin‘s 1978 book-length poem Ranger (Volume I), the start of section XIII:

How difficult it is!
How strange to break in
on the self    on those sections
of self that lie buried
but so vulnerable
that a footstep above them,
on loose-packed detritus,
hurts to the quick,
and makes life of
pain—that it lives—
at all lives.
So I have heard of one more—
perhaps the first woman
I knew as a woman—
gone away, and now dead.
We speak briefly
of the dead,
as if we no longer wanted
to think of them,
but their presence is
none the less—
living in some other place.
We stay with them.

Some short Enslin poems here.

Addendum. wood s lot has posted much more Enslin, all excellent. Go and enjoy.


  1. this poem brought me to a standstill. thanks.

  2. Today I took from the library his book Synthesis, and today I have read this poem, which I consider superb. Is it the same process to consider our suffering for our inner self and for the death of our loved ones (known and unknown?) (Cf. Pound’s Canto XXXVI a similar process of analogy, in my humble opinion)
    Thank you very much, Mister Enslin.

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