Wait, for now.
Distrust everything, if you have to.
But trust the hours. Haven’t they
carried you everywhere, up to now?
Personal events will become interesting again.
Hair will become interesting.
Pain will become interesting.
Buds that open out of season will become lovely again.
Second-hand gloves will become lovely again,
their memories are what give them
the need for other hands. And the desolation
of lovers is the same: that enormous emptiness
carved out of such tiny beings as we are
asks to be filled; the need
for the new love is faithfulness to the old.

Don’t go too early.
You’re tired. But everyone’s tired.
But no one is tired enough.
Only wait a while and listen.
Music of hair,
Music of pain,
music of looms weaving all our loves again.
Be there to hear it, it will be the only time,
most of all to hear,
the flute of your whole existence,
rehearsed by the sorrows, play itself into total exhaustion.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Galway Kinnell's poem Wait


  1. Amelia SIlver says:

    “Wait” is one of Kinnell’s great short poems.
    He writes deliberately, which means that every word he writes is chosen consciously and for a reason. Thus it is disheartening,–no, infuriating–to see his poem misprinted here and on other online venues. Find the book Mortal Acts Mortal Words, read the poem, and correct your online version. If I were the poet, I would bring an action against you. EVERY WORD COUNTS in Poetry.

  2. Amanda says:

    this is the most beautiful poem I have ever heard. IT is my all time favorite. Mr. Kinnell wrote this for a student who went through a bad break up and was contemplating suicide. It’s simply breathtaking.

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