Ilya Kaminsky, poet of our time, born in Ukraine

Poem by Ilya Kaminsky

A Toast

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, and what I forgot brought glory to my travels,


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


Reprinted courtesy of the author and The Academy of American Poets website 





One thought on “Ilya Kaminsky, poet of our time, born in Ukraine

  1. Bowen Swersey

    About the poem, “Toast.”
    I very much enjoy this poem. It suggests a review of the custom of toasting, first off. Then it spins out of the mundane, inviting us to honor the original and the sublime. Foolishness and forgetfulness are forgiven by the Lord to those who have journeyed well. Lovely.


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