Quotes by Tess Gallagher

"It's a dangerous mission. You could die out there. You could go on forever."

"Don’t move. I like this ledge of loose diamonds
waiting to be spilled into the night.
Let’s shine awhile without touching.
Sensuality is, after all, a river that is always waiting."

"So remembering
is only one more way of being alone
when the voice has gone everywhere
in the dusk of the porches
looking for the last thing to say."

"That’s what poems are for,
unlivable love."

epigraph to “In Lilac-Light"

"Urgent Story"

When the oracle said, ‘If you keep pigeons
you will never lose home.’ I kept pigeons.
They flicked their red eyes over me,
a deft trampling
of that humanly proud distance
by which remaining aloof
in it’s own fullness. I administered
crumbs, broke sky with them like breaking

the lemon-light of the soul's amnesia
for what It wants but will neither take
nor truh let go. How it revived me,
to release them! And at that moment of flight
to disavow the imprint, to tear
their compass, out by the roots of
some green meadow they might fly over
on the way to an immaculate freedom, meadow

in which a woman has taken off
her blouse, then taken off the man's flannel shirt
in their sky-drenched arc
of one, then the other above
each other's eyelids is a branding of daylight,
the interior of its black ambush
in which two joys lame the earth a while
with heat and cloudwork under wing-beats.

Then she was quiet with him. And he
with her. The world hummed
with crickets, with bees nudging the lupins.
It is like that when the earth counts
its riches—noisy with desire
even when desire has strengthened our bodies
and moved us into the soak of harmony.

Her nipples in sunlight have crossed his palm
wind-sweet with savor and the rest
is so knelt before
that when they stand upright
the flight-cloud of my tamed birds shapes an arm
too short for praise. Oracle, my dovecot
is an over and over nearer to myself
when its black eyes are empty.
But by nightfall I am dark
before dark if one bird is missing.

Dove left open by love in a meadow,
Dove commanding me not to know
where it sank into the almost-night—for you
I will learn to play the concertina,
to write poems full of hateful jasmine and
longing, to keep the dead alive, to sicken
at the least separation.
Dove, for whose sake
I will never reach home."

Books by Tess Gallagher

  • Dear Ghosts,
  • 129 ratings
  • May 2nd 2006 by Graywolf Press

    (first published 2006)

  • Portable Kisses
  • 65 ratings
  • December 1st 1996 by Bloodaxe Books

    (first published October 1978)

Tess Gallagher
  • Tess Gallagher

  • Date of birth: July 21, 1943
  • Born: in Port Angeles, Washington, The United States.

  • Description: Tess Gallagher is the author of eight volumes of poetry, including Dear Ghosts, Moon Crossing Bridge, and My Black Horse. She will release her collection of New and Selected Poems entitled Midnight Lantern in October 2011. Gallagher is also the author of Amplitude, Soul Barnacles: Ten More Years with Ray, A Concert of Tenses: Essays on Poetry, and three collections of short fiction: At the Owl Woman Saloon, The Lover of Horses and Other Stories and The Man from Kinvara: Selected Stories. She also spearheaded the publication of Raymond Carvers Beginners in Library of Americas complete collection of his stories released Fall 2009. She spends time in a cottage on Lough Arrow in Co. Sligo in the West of Ireland and also lives and writes in her hometown of Port Angeles, Washington"