Animal

A
Café du Néant by Mina Loy
Mina Loy
Little tapers leaning lighted diagonally
Stuck in coffin tables of the Café du Néant
Leaning to the breath of baited bodies
Like young poplars fringing the Loire

Eyes that are full of love
And eyes that are full of kohl
Projecting light across the fulsome ambiente
Trailing the rest of the animal behind them
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Parturition by Mina Loy
Mina Loy
I am the centre
Of a circle of pain
Exceeding its boundaries in every direction

The business of the bland sun
Has no affair with me
In my congested cosmos of agony
From which there is no escape
On infinitely prolonged nerve-vibrations
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Wild Life by Grace Cavalieri
Grace Cavalieri
Behind the silo, the Mother Rabbit
hunches like a giant spider with strange calm:
six tiny babies beneath, each
clamoring for a sweet syringe of milk.
This may sound cute to you, reading
from your pulpit of plenty,
but one small one was left out of reach,
a knife of fur
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A Poem Called Day by Stanley Moss
Stanley Moss
Day is carved in marble, a man reclining,
a naked giant suffering.
Preoccupied Day faces Night, who is a woman,
huge, naked, Herculean, both pillowed
on their uncarved rough marble bed.
They need light to be seen, neither
has anything to do with the sun or moon.
Art is not astronomy,
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The Thing Written by Stanley Moss
Stanley Moss
The thing written is a sexual thing,
may bite, tell a truth some have died for,
even the most casual initialing
is a touch of love and what love goes for.
A sometime thing, it smiles or has an ugly grin,
on the page or wall may be holy and a sin.
Writing wants, must have, must know,
is flesh, blood, and bone,
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My Mouth Quick with Many Bees by Paul Carroll
Paul Carroll
My mouth is snow slowly caking that stiff pigeon.
My mouth, the intricately moist machinery of a plant.
I have forgotten if I ever had a mouth.

I have two mouths.
One like warm rain;
or wind manipulating the worn limbs of an elm.

My mouth knows nothing of music.
Or of the oils of love.
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Felonies and Arias of the Heart by Frank Lima
Frank Lima
I need more time, a simple day in Paris hotels and window shopping.
The croissants will not bake themselves and the Tower of London would
Like to spend a night in the tropics with gray sassy paint. It has many
Wounds and historic serial dreams under contract to Hollywood.
Who will play the head of Mary, Queen of Scots, and who will braid her

Hair? Was it she who left her lips on the block for the executioner,
Whose hands would never find ablution, who would never touch a woman
Again or eat the flesh of a red animal? Blood pudding would repulse him
Until joining Anne. That is the way of history written for Marlow and
Shakespear. They are with us now that we are sober and wiser,

Not taking the horrors of poetry too seriously. Why am I telling you this
Nonsense, when I have never seen you sip your coffee or tea,
In the morning? Not to mention,
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Running Away by Rosemary Tonks
Rosemary Tonks
In the green rags of the Bible I tore up
The straight silk of childhood on my head
I left the house, I fled
My mother’s brow where I had no ambition
But to stroke the writing
I raked in.

She who dressed in wintersilk my head
That month when there is baize on the high wall
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Sailing to Byzantium by William Butler Yeats
William Butler Yeats
I

That is no country for old men. The young
In one another's arms, birds in the trees,
—Those dying generations—at their song,
The salmon-falls, the mackerel-crowded seas,
Fish, flesh, or fowl, commend all summer long
Whatever is begotten, born, and dies.
Caught in that sensual music all neglect
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On the Move by Thom Gunn
Thom Gunn
The blue jay scuffling in the bushes follows
Some hidden purpose, and the gust of birds
That spurts across the field, the wheeling swallows,
Has nested in the trees and undergrowth.
Seeking their instinct, or their poise, or both,
One moves with an uncertain violence
Under the dust thrown by a baffled sense
Or the dull thunder of approximate words.
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The Flight by Christopher Middleton
Christopher Middleton
Just seen, running, and silver-gray
along the top tube of a fence between myrtles and me,
too slinky for a bird and even at this distance
unmistakably a quadruped and
nimble, some sort of unspoiled animal, but which?
It ran as if away
from a threat, peril was everywhere,
a footsole crunches it, it is mangled
by a tire’s treads, hawk scoops it, turkey buzzard
pecks at it, no speech mitigates its pains,
even the cat fools with it, until, inedible,
it is kicked into the gutter. There she goes,
the slinky silver-gray Atalanta of reptiles
vanishes in no time, for the wind
whisks from her feet such tenuous gusts of air —
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Murderer Part IV by Curzio Malaparte
Curzio Malaparte
IV

So it did not come as a surprise—a relief, almost—when we heard the tac-tac-tac of machine guns and the thud of grenades rising up from the woods below. The Germans were advancing again through the tangle of bomb-shattered branches, clearing a path with axe-blows, foreheads crushed beneath the overhang of great steel helmets, gleaming eyes fixed dead ahead.
The rest of that day was bitter, and many of us fell forever headlong in the grass. But toward evening the voice of battle began to diminish, and then from the depths of the forest we could hear the song of the wounded: the serene, monotonous, sad-hopeful song of the wounded, joining the chorus of birds hidden in the foliage as they welcomed the return of the moon.
It was still daylight, but the moon was rising sweetly from behind the forested mountains of Reims.

It was green against a white and tender sky…

A moon from the forest of Ardennes,
a moon from the country of Rimbaud, of Verlaine,
a delicate green moon, round and light,
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Xian of Eight Rivers by Curzio Malaparte
Curzio Malaparte
China is made of earth, of sun-dried mud.

In this part of China everything is made from the earth:
the houses, the walls around cities, and villages,
the tombs scattered over the countryside.
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Darwin by Lorine Niedecker
Lorine Niedecker

I
His holy
slowly
mulled over
matter

not all “delirium
of delight”
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Wobbly Rock by Lew Welch
Lew Welch

for Gary Snyder

“I think I’ll be the Buddha of this place”

and sat himself
down


1.
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"When I used to focus on the worries, everybody" by Joanne Kyger
Joanne Kyger
When I used to focus on the worries, everybody
was ahead of me, I was the bottom
of the totem pole,
a largely spread squat animal.

How about a quick massage now, he said to me.
I don’t think it’s cool, I replied.
Oh, said he, after a pause, I should have waited
for you to ask me.
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Errory by Tom Raworth
Tom Raworth
joined harmonising the best so it needn’t wait
phrase: the question are you sure?
hanging three feet off the ground
silent, absolutely quiet
headquarters – we travelled north
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Semele Recycled by Carolyn Kizer
Carolyn Kizer
After you left me forever,
I was broken into pieces,
and all the pieces flung into the river.
Then the legs crawled ashore
and aimlessly wandered the dusty cow-track.
They became, for a while, a simple roadside shrine:
A tiny table set up between the thighs
held a dusty candle, weed-and-fieldflower chains
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Gaslight by Tom Raworth
Tom Raworth
a line of faces borders the strangler’s work
heavy european women
mist blows over dusty tropical plants
lit from beneath the leaves by a spotlight
mist in my mind a riffled deck

of cards or eccentrics
was i
a waterton animal my head
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A Short History of Israel, Notes and Glosses by Charles Reznikoff
Charles Reznikoff

XI
A hundred generations, yes, a hundred and twenty-five,
had the strength each day
not to eat this and that (unclean!)
not to say this and that,
not to do this and that (unjust!),
and with all this and all that
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The Balustrade by Keith Waldrop
Keith Waldrop
in memory of Edmond Jabès


“And so her worries ran on into the other world.”

The Tale of Genji
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Conversation 9: On Varieties of Oblivion by Rosmarie Waldrop
Rosmarie Waldrop
After bitter resistance the river unravels into the night, he says. Washes our daily fare of war out into a dark so deaf, so almost without dimension there is no word to dive from. Body weight displaced by dreams whose own lack promises lucidity so powerful it could shoot a long take to mindlessness. Fish smell travels the regions of sleep, westward like young men and the dawn. Then I return, too early to bring anything back, unsure of what I want, terrified I’ll fail, by a hair, to seize it.



We talk because we can forget, she says. Our bodies open to the dark, and sand runs out. Oblivion takes it all with equal tenderness. As the sea does. As the past. Already it suffuses the present with more inclusive tonalities. Not orchestrating a melodic sequence, but rounding the memory of a rooster on top a hanging silence. Or injured flesh. Impersonal. Only an animal could be so.



An avatar of the holy ghost, he chuckles. Or the angel of the annunciation beating his wings against a door slammed shut. Behind it, love already plays the organ. Without the angel. He is invisible because we have rejected his message.



On the old photos, she says, I see a stranger staking out my skin. As if an apple could fall too far from the tree. Yet I call her “me,” “my” years of furtively expanding flesh, with almost-certainty. It’s a belief that seems exempt from doubt, as if it were the hinge on which my doubts and questions turn. Still, I may seem the same “I” to you while I’ve already rolled it through the next door. From left to right.
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What My House Would Be Like If It Were A Person by Denise Levertov
Denise Levertov
This person would be an animal.
This animal would be large, at least as large
as a workhorse. It would chew cud, like cows,
having several stomachs.
No one could follow it
into the dense brush to witness
its mating habits. Hidden by fur,
its sex would be hard to determine.
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Encounter in the Local Pub by Eleanor Wilner
Eleanor Wilner
Unlike Francis Bacon, we no longer believe in the little patterns we make of the chaos of history.
—Overheard remark As he looked up from his glass, its quickly melting ice,
into the bisected glowing demonic eyes of the goat,
he sensed that something fundamental had shifted,

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The Prisoner by R. S. Thomas
R. S. Thomas
‘Poems from prison! About
what?’
‘Life and God.’ ‘God
in prison? Friend, you trifle
with me. His face, perhaps,
at the bars, fading
like life.’
‘He came in
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Quivira by Ronald Johnson
Ronald Johnson
I

Also reputed to be golden, Quivira:


Cibola, unknown
to Coronado, meant ‘buffalo’

to the Indians, but onward, to El Dorado, ‘The Gilded One’,


a country where
boats were incrusted with gold, where
golden bells hung from trees
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Cullen in the Afterlife by P. K. Page
P. K. Page
He found it strange at first. A new dimension.
One he had never guessed. The fourth? The fifth?
How could he tell, who’d only known the third?
Something to do with eyesight, depth of field.
Perspective quite beyond him. Everything flat
or nearly flat. The vanishing point
they’d tried to teach at school was out of sight
and out of mind. A blank.

Now, this diaphanous dimension—one
with neither up nor down, nor east nor west,
nor orienting star to give him north.
Even his name had left him. Strayed like a dog.
Yet he was bathed in some unearthly light,
a delicate no-color that made his flesh
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New Year's Poem by Margaret Avison
Margaret Avison
Highlight Actions Enable or disable annotations
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Wine by Pierre Martory
Pierre Martory
The flowers I planted along my road
Have lasted long despite winds and cold
Already fiery noons begin to burn
Slyly the secret of the roots
And I know that of my footsteps nothing will remain
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On the Meeting of Garcia Lorca and Hart Crane by Philip Levine
Philip Levine
Brooklyn, 1929. Of course Crane’s
been drinking and has no idea who
this curious Andalusian is, unable
even to speak the language of poetry.
The young man who brought them
together knows both Spanish and English,
but he has a headache from jumping
back and forth from one language
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The Wreck of the Thresher by William Meredith
William Meredith
(Lost at Sea, April 10, 1963) I stand on the ledge where rock runs into the river
As the night turns brackish with morning, and mourn the drowned.
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All the Members of My Tribe Are Liars by John Fuller
John Fuller
Think of a self-effacing missionary
Tending the vices of a problem tribe.
He knows the quickest cure for beri-beri
And how to take a bribe.

And so the mind will never say it’s beaten
By primitive disturbance of the liver;
Its logic will prevent its being eaten,
Get it across the river.
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The Animal Store by Rachel Field
Rachel Field
If I had a hundred dollars to spend,
Or maybe a little more,
I’d hurry as fast as my legs would go
Straight to the animal store.

I wouldn’t say, “How much for this or that?”
“What kind of a dog is he?”
I’d buy as many as rolled an eye,
Or wagged a tail at me!
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Brothers-American Drama by James Weldon Johnson
James Weldon Johnson
(THE MOB SPEAKS:)

See! There he stands; not brave, but with an air
Of sullen stupor. Mark him well! Is he
Not more like brute than man? Look in his eye!
No light is there; none, save the glint that shines
In the now glaring, and now shifting orbs
Of some wild animal caught in the hunter’s trap.

How came this beast in human shape and form?
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"kitty". sixteen,5'1",white,prostitute by E. E. Cummings
E. E. Cummings
"kitty". sixteen,5'1",white,prostitute.

ducking always the touch of must and shall,
whose slippery body is Death's littlest pal,

skilled in quick softness.Unspontaneous.cute.

the signal perfume of whose unrepute
focusses in the sweet slow animal
bottomless eyes importantly banal,

Kitty. a whore. Sixteen
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The City (1925) by Carl Rakosi
Carl Rakosi
1

Under this Luxemburg of heaven,
upright capstan,
small eagles. . . .
is the port of N.Y. . . . .

gilders, stampers, pen makers, goldbeaters,

apprehensions of thunder
speed
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The Frog by Hilaire Belloc
Hilaire Belloc
Be kind and tender to the Frog,
And do not call him names,
As ‘Slimy skin,’ or ‘Polly-wog,’
Or likewise ‘Ugly James,’
Or ‘Gape-a-grin,’ or ‘Toad-gone-wrong,’
Or ‘Billy Bandy-knees’:
The Frog is justly sensitive
To epithets like these.
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I’ll Open the Window by Anna Swir
Anna Swir
Our embrace lasted too long.
We loved right down to the bone.
I hear the bones grind, I see
our two skeletons.

Now I am waiting
till you leave, till
the clatter of your shoes
is heard no more. Now, silence.
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It Is There by Babette Deutsch
Babette Deutsch
These are the streets where we walked with war and childhood
Like our two shadows behind us, or
Before us like one shadow.
River walks
Threaded by park rats, flanked by battleships,
Flickering of a grey tail on the bank,
Motionless hulls
Enormous under a dead grey sky.
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A Little Language by Robert Duncan
Robert Duncan
I know a little language of my cat, though Dante says
that animals have no need of speech and Nature
abhors the superfluous.My cat is fluent.He
converses when he wants with me.To speak

is natural.And whales and wolves I’ve heard
in choral soundings of the sea and air
know harmony and have an eloquence that stirs
my mind and heart—they touch the soul.Here
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Man with a Black Dog by Richard Emil Braun
Richard Emil Braun
The first commotion stirred him to offend,
forgivably, with friendly leaps and clutching;
but soon too urgent friendliness was wrought
by a new wave of guests. At last I complained
to that one man that it was indecent
of him to tempt the beast so, pressing his
tweed knee against the furry brisket. But
he smiled, and spoke with a Rhinelandish accent:
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Nurture by Maxine Kumin
Maxine Kumin
From a documentary on marsupials I learn
that a pillowcase makes a fine
substitute pouch for an orphaned kangaroo.

I am drawn to such dramas of animal rescue.
They are warm in the throat. I suffer, the critic proclaims,
from an overabundance of maternal genes.

Bring me your fallen fledgling, your bummer lamb,

lead the abused, the starvelings, into my barn.
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Otranto by Barbara Guest
Barbara Guest
At sunset from the top of the stair watching

the castle mallets wrenched from their socket

fell from ambush into flame flew into hiding;

above the stoneware a latch like muscle hid

the green; he stood waist high under the rapt

ceiling and hanged the sparrow; where the kitchen

had been a mirror of eggs served in a tumbler he

saw the ring when a lancet pierced and threw it.
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The Paradox of Jerome’s Lion by Christopher Middleton
Christopher Middleton
Local his discourse, not yet exemplary,
Nowadays he is old, the translator,
So old he is practically transparent.

Good things and otherwise, evils done
Come home to him, too close to the bone
And so little transformed,
Him so transparent,
They float in and out of his window.
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Prison Song by Alan Dugan
Alan Dugan
The skin ripples over my body like moon-wooed water,
rearing to escape me. Where could it find another
animal as naked as the one it hates to cover?
Once it told me what was happening outside,
who was attacking, who caressing, and what the air
was doing to feed or freeze me. Now I wake up
dark at night, in a textureless ocean of ignorance,
or fruit bites back and water bruises like a stone.
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The Reading Club by Patricia Goedicke
Patricia Goedicke
Is dead serious about this one, having rehearsed it for two weeks
they bring it right into the Odd Fellows Meeting Hall.
Riding the backs of the Trojan Women,
In Euripides’ great wake they are swept up,

But the women of the chorus, in black stockings and kerchiefs,
Stand up bravely to it, shawled arms thrash
In a foam of hysterical voices shrieking,
Seaweed on the wet flanks of a whale,
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Revelation at Cap Ferrat by Clarence Major
Clarence Major
It’s not solely the dance
of the juggler but his spirit:
with its turkey wings, perfect thighs,
sensuous hips, large round flat eye.
This eye smiles like lips.
Watch this eye—
it’s not a donkey eye.

It’s not solely the dancer
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Second Adam by Ben Belitt
Ben Belitt
Whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.
—Genesis When the Deluge had passed,
into my head, by twos, came the creeping things,
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To a Child in Heaven by Richard Emil Braun
Richard Emil Braun
You perished, in a toyland, of surprise;
and only I am here to bury you
in dessicated tulip tips and eyes
of broken diadie-dolls. Poor pink, poor blue!

Will you be grown when I’m in Heaven too?
Will length of death have turned you Classical
like old Bisque faces, keen and sainted view,
pearl on your breast, pearl-pointed linen shawl?
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Two Quits and a Drum, and Elegy for Drinkers by Alan Dugan
Alan Dugan
1. ON ASPHALT: NO GREENS

Quarry out the stone
of land, cobble the beach,
wall surf, name it “street,”
allow no ground or green
cover for animal sins,
but let opacity of sand
be glass to keep the heat
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Waving Goodbye by Gerald Stern
Gerald Stern
I wanted to know what it was like before we
had voices and before we had bare fingers and before we
had minds to move us through our actions
and tears to help us over our feelings,
so I drove my daughter through the snow to meet her friend
and filled her car with suitcases and hugged her
as an animal would, pressing my forehead against her,
walking in circles, moaning, touching her cheek,
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The Rape of Europa by Ovid
Ovid
From "Metamorphoses," Book II, 846-875 Majesty is incompatible truly with love; they cohabit
Nowhere together. The father and chief of the gods, whose right hand is
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The Author to His Body on Their Fifteenth Birthday, 29 ii 80 by Howard Nemerov
Howard Nemerov
“There’s never a dull moment in the human body.”
—The Insight Lady Dear old equivocal and closest friend,
Grand Vizier to a weak bewildered king,
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The Bad Old Days by Kenneth Rexroth
Kenneth Rexroth
The summer of nineteen eighteen
I read The Jungle and The
Research Magnificent. That fall
My father died and my aunt
Took me to Chicago to live.
The first thing I did was to take
A streetcar to the stockyards.
In the winter afternoon,
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from Chanting at the Crystal Sea by Susan Howe
Susan Howe
All male Quincys are now dead, excepting one.
John Wheelwright, “Gestures to the Dead” 1
Vast oblong space
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Deep South by Thomas McGrath
Thomas McGrath
Baton Rouge, 1940 These are savannas bluer than your dreams
Where other loves are fashioned to older music,
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Deeply Morbid by Stevie Smith
Stevie Smith
Deeply morbid deeply morbid was the girl who typed the letters
Always out of office hours running with her social betters
But when daylight and the darkness of the office closed about her
Not for this ah not for this her office colleagues came to doubt her
It was that look within her eye
Why did it always seem to say goodbye?

Joan her name was and at lunchtime
Solitary solitary
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Dogs Are Shakespearean, Children Are Strangers by Delmore Schwartz
Delmore Schwartz
Dogs are Shakespearean, children are strangers.
Let Freud and Wordsworth discuss the child,
Angels and Platonists shall judge the dog,
The running dog, who paused, distending nostrils,
Then barked and wailed; the boy who pinched his sister,
The little girl who sang the song from Twelfth Night,
As if she understood the wind and rain,
The dog who moaned, hearing the violins in concert.
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The Heavy Bear Who Goes With Me by Delmore Schwartz
Delmore Schwartz
“the withness of the body” The heavy bear who goes with me,
A manifold honey to smear his face,
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Lunar Baedeker by Mina Loy
Mina Loy
Highlight Actions Enable or disable annotations
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My Shoes by Charles Simic
Charles Simic
Shoes, secret face of my inner life:
Two gaping toothless mouths,
Two partly decomposed animal skins
Smelling of mice nests.

My brother and sister who died at birth
Continuing their existence in you,
Guiding my life
Toward their incomprehensible innocence.
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Plague of Dead Sharks by Alan Dugan
Alan Dugan
Who knows whether the sea heals or corrodes?
The wading, wintered pack-beasts of the feet
slough off, in spring, the dead rind of the shoes’
leather detention, the big toe’s yellow horn
shines with a natural polish, and the whole
person seems to profit. The opposite appears
when dead sharks wash up along the beach
for no known reason. What is more built
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Returning Native by John Updike
John Updike
What can you say about Pennsylvania
in regard to New England except that
it is slightly less cold, and less rocky,
or rather that the rocks are different?
Redder, and gritty, and piled up here and there,
whether as glacial moraine or collapsed springhouse
is not easy to tell, so quickly
are human efforts bundled back into nature.
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Sandra: At the Beaver Trap by Michael S. Harper
Michael S. Harper
1
Nose only above water;
an hour in the ice melt;
paw in a beaver trap,
northern leaping through—
the outlet sieving, setter-
retriever staked to her trip,
The stake of her young
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Similar Cases by Charlotte Anna Perkins Gilman
Charlotte Anna Perkins Gilman
There was once a little animal,
No bigger than a fox,
And on five toes he scampered
Over Tertiary rocks.
They called him Eohippus,
And they called him very small,
And they thought him of no value --
When they thought of him at all;
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Spree by Maxine Kumin
Maxine Kumin
My father paces the upstairs hall
a large confined animal
neither wild nor yet domesticated.
About him hangs the smell of righteous wrath.
My mother is meekly seated
at the escritoire. Rosy from my bath
age eight-nine-ten by now I understand
his right to roar, hers to defy
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Untitled Poem “Why feel guilty because the death of a lover causes lust?” by Alan Dugan
Alan Dugan
Why feel guilty because the death of a lover causes lust?
It is only an animal urge to perpetuate the species,
but if I do not inhibit my imagination and dreams
I can see your skull smiling up at me from underground
and your bones loosely arranged in the missionary position.
This is not an incapacitating vision except at night,
and not a will of constancy, nor an irrevocable trust,
so I take on a woman with a mouth like an open wound.
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The Voyage Home by Philip Appleman
Philip Appleman
The social instincts ...
naturally lead to the golden rule.
—CHARLES DARWIN, The Descent of Man 1
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We Had Seen a Pig by Marvin Bell
Marvin Bell
1

One man held the huge pig down
and the other stuck an ice pick
into the jugular, which is when
we started to pay attention.
The blood rose ten feet with force
while the sow swam on its back
as if to cut its own neck.
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My Brother the Artist, at Seven by Philip Levine
Philip Levine
As a boy he played alone in the fields
behind our block, six frame houses
holding six immigrant families,
the parents speaking only gibberish
to their neighbors. Without the kids
they couldn't say "Good morning" and be
understood. Little wonder
he learned early to speak to himself,
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