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Friday, April 11, 2014

Poetry Friday--Richard Eberhart

Continuing with our NPM celebration of New Hampshire poets, this week we have Richard Eberhart who served as a U.S. poet laureate 1959-1961, back in the days when it was called "Consultant in Poetry." Eberhart was later NH's Poet Laureate 1979-1984, and he taught poetry at Dartmouth College for 20 years.

Here's a poem that was published in 1970 in the October 3 issue of The New Yorker. We have it in The Poets Laureate Anthology [811.5 POE].
As If You Had Never Been

When I see your picture in its frame,
A strait jacket, pity rises in me,
And stronger than pity, revulsion.
          It is as if you had never been.

Nobody in the world can know your love,
You are strapped to the nothingness of ages,
Nobody can will you into life,
          It is as if you had never been.

I cannot break you anonymity,
The absolute has imprisoned you,
Most sentient, most prescient, most near.
          It is as if you had never been.

Before you go off to Today's Little Ditty for the Poetry Friday Round-Up, I wanted to share an excellent NPM presentation created by Christine Heaton of Hollis Brookline High School Library.

Photo of Richard Eberhart courtesy Library of Congress.


  1. Wow. Powerful poem. I may never look at a framed photograph in the same way.

    On a lighter note, loved the slideshow. I want that poetry van to visit my neighborhood!

    1. Wouldn't a poetry van be fun!

  2. Very nice slideshow! So many ways poetry can be presented. This made me remember a poetry sculpture I heard about where light comes through carved holes in the wall and the shadows make a poem over the course of a day.

    1. Tabatha, do you know where you heard about the hole poetry? It sounds fascinating and I'd like to learn more.