Ilya Kaminsky

A Toast

About the Poem

Poem by Ilya Kaminsky, 1977

To your voice, a mysterious virtue,
to the 53 bones of one foot, the four dimensions of breathing,

to pine, redwood, sworn-fern, peppermint,
to hyacinth and bluebell lily,

to the train conductor’s donkey on a rope,
to smells of lemons, a boy pissing splendidly against the trees.

Bless each thing on earth until it sickens,
until each ungovernable heart admits: “I confused myself

and yet I loved—and what I loved
I forgot, what I forgot brought glory to my travels,

to you I traveled as close as I dared, Lord.”

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