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The Distances

This house, pitched now
The dark wide stretch
Of plains and ocean
To these hills over
The night-filled river,
Billows with night,
Swells with the rooms
Of sleeping children, pulls
Slowly from this bed,
Slowly returns, pulls and holds,
Is held where we 
Lock all distances!

Ah, how the distances
Spiral from that
Rooms, roof
Spun to the huge
Midnight, and into
The rings and rings of stars.

—Henry W. Rago

from A Sky of Late Summer, 1963
The Macmillan Company

Copyright 1963 by Henry W. Rago.
All rights reserved.

Reprinted by permission of Christina Rago. Copyright 1963 by The Macmillan Company. For further permissions information, contact Christina Rago, Box 481, Lincoln, MA, 01773.

Poetry 180

About the Poet

Henry W. Rago (1915–1969), the former editor of Poetry Magazine, is the author of the poetry collection Sky of Late Summer (University of Chicago Press, 1963). He died in 1969.

Learn more about Henry W. Rago at The Poetry Foundation