What It Is that Has to Give

poetry san francisco

Bernal Hill (pictured above) boasts an unobstructed view of photogenic San Francisco. So, it is unsurprising that it spawned a poem that bears its name.

The piece is by Randall Mann, an openly gay poet who often writes about life in San Francisco and who was the recipient of the prestigious Kenyon Review Prize in Poetryin 2003.

I like the poem because it is simple and it rhymes. And, anything that is simple, rhymes and works is an intentionally modest work of art.


Bernal Hill

Something has to give.
We stand above it all.
Below, the buildings’ tall
but tiny narrative.


The water’s always near,
you say. And so are you,
for now. It has to do.
There’s little left to fear.


A wind so cold, one might
forget that winter’s gone.
The city lights are on
for us, to us, tonight.


Photo Credit: Jack French, from San Francisco, CA

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