Husband

H
Beach Body by Ovid
Ovid
early morning. down to the shore again
to find a place to grieve. the place he left
lingering. here the ropes were loosed [here
he gave me kisses on the shore, here he left] she said

and while she thought and looked and felt, looking out
along the shore, in liquid space, she saw—far off
not sure—a body or something in the water—
wondered what, but then the waves pulled it by—still
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Christmas Eve in Whitneyville   by Donald Hall
Donald Hall
December, and the closing of the year;
The momentary carolers complete
Their Christmas Eves, and quickly disappear
Into their houses on each lighted street.

Each car is put away in each garage;
Each husband home from work, to celebrate,
Has closed his house around him like a cage,
And wedged the tree until the tree stood straight.
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Under the Roof of Memory by Peter Davison
Peter Davison
(In Memory of Jane Davison) 1. Pleas

Please help us keep your memory alive.
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Purple Anemones by D. H. Lawrence
D. H. Lawrence
Who gave us flowers?
Heaven? The white God?

Nonsense!
Up out of hell,
From Hades;
Infernal Dis!

Jesus the god of flowers—?
Not he.
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Something in the Belly by Deena Metzger
Deena Metzger
I wanted to have a poem and I was pregnant. I was very thin. As if I’d lived on air. A poet must be able to live on air, but a mother must not attempt it. My mother wanted me to buy a set of matching pots, Wearever aluminum, like the ones she had. They were heavy and had well fitting lids so my suppers wouldn’t burn. My husband wanted me to give dinner parties. John F. Kennedy was running for office.

I sensed danger. Kennedy wasn’t against the Bomb or for nuclear disarmament. I joined SANE at its inception. Also Concerned Scientists. I spoke with Linus Pauling and encouraged my husband to help his partner organize Physicians for Social Responsibility.

There was a baby in my belly. I wanted to write poems. I had a crazy idea that a woman could write a real novel, the kind that shook the world. I hallucinated that a woman could be a poet, but she would have to be free. I couldn’t imagine that freedom for myself even though I could see it in Isla Negra when I followed Pablo Neruda. I could see it in the way he walked. Even if he were walking inside a dictatorship, among guns, soldiers and spies, there was nothing between him and his vision. Anything he saw, he was able to take into himself–there was no sight, no image, no vision to which he didn’t feel entitled. In his heart, everything–everything–belonged to him. Pablo Neruda was–more than anything–a poet, and so he was an entitled man.

I was a woman and entitled to nothing. I had nothing except a husband, a rented house, a set of pots, living room furniture, a frenzy of obligations, credit cards, anxious relatives, too many acquaintances, a gift of future diaper service, two telephones, no time to read, a plastic wrapped cookbook of recipes gleaned from the pages of the New York Times, and a hunger, a terrible hunger for the unimaginable, unlimited freedom of being a poet, and a baby in my belly.

I would have called Pablo long distance if I had the courage, if I had the ability to speak Spanish fluently, if we had ever talked about real things. But, what would a man know about a baby in the belly? And what did it matter if there were to be one poet more or less in the world when so many in his country were dying?

I woke up one morning and thought–I can’t have this child. My husband said, “You’ll have to get a job after it’s born so we can buy a house. You’ll need an advanced degree so you can do something.” I thought, I can’t. I have to write poems. My mother found a crib. Someone painted it white. A friend sent a pastel mobile with tame wood animals. I thought about blue curtains, making bedspreads, and abortions.

Pablo was silent. He was walking so far from me, I couldn’t hear him. My husband objected to donating more free medical care to the Black Panthers. I tried to make dolmades from scratch and located grape leaves preserved in brine at the Boys’ Market twenty miles away. I organized a write-in campaign for peace to challenge JFK. My husband thought it would be nice to have teatime with the children and romantic dinners by ourselves. The new formula bottles lined up on the sink like tiny bombs. The U.S. was pursuing over ground testing; I was afraid the radiation would cross the milk barrier. I had a poem in me howling for real life but no language to write in. The fog came in thick, flapping about my feet like blankets unraveling. I became afraid to have a daughter.

I called Pablo Neruda in the middle of the night as he walked underwater by Isla Negra. He moved like a dream porpoise. He seemed pregnant with words. They came out of his penis in long miraculous strings. The sea creatures quivered with joy. I said, “Pablo, I want to know how to bear the child in my belly onto this bed of uranium and I want to know if a woman can a be a poet.” He was large as a whale. He drank the sea and spouted it in glistening odes, black and shiny. I said, “I can’t have this child,” and he laughed as if he had never done anything but carry and birth children.
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from The Book of the Dead: Absalom by Muriel Rukeyser
Muriel Rukeyser
I first discovered what was killing these men.
I had three sons who worked with their father in the tunnel:
Cecil, aged 23, Owen, aged 21, Shirley, aged 17.
They used to work in a coal mine, not steady work
for the mines were not going much of the time.
A power Co. foreman learned that we made home brew,
he formed a habit of dropping in evenings to drink,
persuading the boys and my husband —
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from The Book of the Dead: Praise of the Committee by Muriel Rukeyser
Muriel Rukeyser
These are the lines on which a committee is formed.
Almost as soon as work was begun in the tunnel
men began to die among dry drills. No masks.
Most of them were not from this valley.
The freights brought many every day from States
all up and down the Atlantic seaboard
and as far inland as Kentucky, Ohio.
After the work the camps were closed or burned.
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Käthe Kollwitz by Muriel Rukeyser
Muriel Rukeyser
1
Held between wars
my lifetime
among wars, the big hands of the world of death
my lifetime
listens to yours.

The faces of the sufferers
in the street, in dailiness,
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Loneliness by Gerald Stern
Gerald Stern
Nothing by or for itself, the sound of
eggs hard-boiling in the hot water
echoed by the heavy rain that pours
down the broken spout, the cowardly lion’s
roar answered by the moos of the buffalo
the bloody mouth of the one
by the sharp and polished horns of the other,
even Nelson Eddy
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The Complaints of the Poor by Robert Southey
Robert Southey
And wherefore do the Poor complain?
The rich man asked of me,—
Come walk abroad with me, I said
And I will answer thee.

Twas evening and the frozen streets
Were cheerless to behold,
And we were wrapt and coated well,
And yet we were a-cold.

We met an old bare-headed man,
His locks were few and white,
I ask'd him what he did abroad
In that cold winter's night:

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The Well of St. Keyne by Robert Southey
Robert Southey

A Well there is in the west country,
And a clearer one never was seen;
There is not a wife in the west country
But has heard of the Well of St. Keyne.

An oak and an elm-tree stand beside,
And behind doth an ash-tree grow,
And a willow from the bank above
Droops to the water below.

A traveller came to the Well of St. Keyne;
Joyfully he drew nigh,
For from the cock-crow he had been travelling,
And there was not a cloud in the sky.
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Marching by Isaac Rosenberg
Isaac Rosenberg
My eyes catch ruddy necks
Sturdily pressed back.
All a red-brick moving glint.
Like flaming pendulums, hands
Swing across the khaki—
Mustard coloured khaki—
To the automatic feet.

We husband the ancient glory
In these bared necks and hands.
Not broke is the forge of Mars;
But a subtler brain beats iron
To shoe the hoofs of death.
Who pays dynamic air now?—
Blind fingers loose an iron cloud
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A Story Can Change Your Life by Peter Everwine
Peter Everwine
On the morning she became a young widow,
my grandmother, startled by a sudden shadow,
looked up from her work to see a hawk turn
her prized rooster into a cloud of feathers.
That same moment, halfway around the world
in a Minnesota mine, her husband died,
buried under a ton of rockfall.
She told me this story sixty years ago.
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The Snow-Shower by William Cullen Bryant
William Cullen Bryant
Stand here by my side and turn, I pray,
On the lake below, thy gentle eyes;
The clouds hang over it, heavy and gray,
And dark and silent the water lies;
And out of that frozen mist the snow
In wavering flakes begins to flow;
Flake after flake
They sink in the dark and silent lake.

See how in a living swarm they come
From the chambers beyond that misty veil;
Some hover awhile in air, and some
Rush prone from the sky like summer hail.
All, dropping swiftly or settling slow,
Meet, and are still in the depths below;
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To her Sister Mistress A. B. by Isabella Whitney
Isabella Whitney
Because I to my brethern wrote
and to my sisters two:
Good sister Anne, you this might wote,
if so I should not do
To you, or ere I parted hence,
You vainly had bestowed expence.

Yet is it not for that I write,
for nature did you bind
To do me good, and to requite
hath nature me inclined:
Wherefore good sister take in gree
These simple lines that come from me.

Wherein I wish you Nestor's days,
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October by Bill Berkson
Bill Berkson
I
It’s odd to have a separate month. It
escapes the year, it is not only cold, it is warm
and loving like a death grip on a willing knee. The
Indians have a name for it, they call it:
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The Unfaithful Housewife by Federico García Lorca
Federico García Lorca

For Mary Peace Then I led her to the river
certain she was still a virgin
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Afternoon Happiness by Carolyn Kizer
Carolyn Kizer
for John At a party I spy a handsome psychiatrist,
And wish, as we all do, to get her advice for free.
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Palindrome by Lisel Mueller
Lisel Mueller
There is less difficulty—indeed, no logical difficulty at all—in
imagining two portions of the universe, say two galaxies, in which
time goes one way in one galaxy and the opposite way in the
other. . . . Intelligent beings in each galaxy would regard their own
time as “forward” and time in the other galaxy as “backward.”
—Martin Gardner, in Scientific American
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A Time of Bees by Mona Van Duyn
Mona Van Duyn
Love is never strong enough to find the words befitting it.
CAMUS All day my husband pounds on the upstairs porch.
Screeches and grunts of wood as the wall is opened
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Canto LXXXI by Ezra Pound
Ezra Pound
Zeus lies in Ceres’ bosom
Taishan is attended of loves
under Cythera, before sunrise
And he said: “Hay aquí mucho catolicismo—(sounded
catolithismo
y muy poco reliHion.”
and he said: “Yo creo que los reyes desparecen”
(Kings will, I think, disappear)
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Another Insane Devotion by Gerald Stern
Gerald Stern
This was gruesome—fighting over a ham sandwich
with one of the tiny cats of Rome, he leaped
on my arm and half hung on to the food and half
hung on to my shirt and coat. I tore it apart
and let him have his portion, I think I lifted him
down, sandwich and all, on the sidewalk and sat
with my own sandwich beside him, maybe I petted
his bony head and felt him shiver. I have
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Day and Night in Virginia and Boston by Anne Winters
Anne Winters
After three months, Virginia is still a frontier.
Late at night, I close the door
on my husband practicing Mozart, the dishpan fills
and the network affiliates sign off one by one.
Now the country stations, tuning up like crickets
on radios in scattered valley kitchens:
Har yall this evenin folks!
(Wanting to say ‘I’m real fine’ I whisper ‘Wow.’)
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The Child’s Address to the Kentucky Mummy by Hannah F. Gould
Hannah F. Gould
And now, Mistress Mummy, since thus you’ve been found
By the world, that has long done without you,
In your snug little hiding-place far under ground—
Be pleased to speak out, as we gather around,
And let us hear something about you!

By the style of your dress you are not Madam Eve—
You of course had a father and mother;
No more of your line have we power to conceive,
As you furnish us nothing by which to believe
You had husband, child, sister, or brother.

We know you have lived, though we cannot tell when,
And that too by eating and drinking,
To judge by your teeth, and the lips you had then
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The Wife Speaks by Elizabeth Drew Barstow Stoddard
Elizabeth Drew Barstow Stoddard
Husband, today could you and I behold
The sun that brought us to our bridal morn
Rising so splendid in the winter sky
(We though fair spring returned), when we were wed;
Could the shades vanish from these fifteen years,
Which stand like columns guarding the approach
To that great temple of the double soul
That is as one – would you turn back, my dear,
And, for the sake of Love’s mysterious dream,
As old as Adam and as sweet as Eve,
Take me, as I took you, and once more go
Towards that goal which none of us have reached?
Contesting battles which but prove a loss,
The victor vanquished by the wounded one;
Teaching each other sacrifice of self,
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Bartow Black by Timothy Thomas Fortune
Timothy Thomas Fortune
’Twas when the Proclamation came,—
Far in the sixties back,—
He left his lord, and changed his name
To “Mister Bartow Black.”

He learned to think himself a man,
And privileged, you know,
To adopt a new and different plan,—
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Washing Day by Anna Lætitia Barbauld
Anna Lætitia Barbauld
The Muses are turned gossips; they have lost
The buskined step, and clear high-sounding phrase,
Language of gods. Come, then, domestic Muse,
In slip-shod measure loosely prattling on,
Of farm or orchard, pleasant curds and cream,
Or droning flies, or shoes lost in the mire
By little whimpering boy, with rueful face —
Come, Muse, and sing the dreaded washing day.
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A Deserter by Charles Reznikoff
Charles Reznikoff
Their new landlord was a handsome man. On his rounds to
collect rent she became friendly.
Finally, she asked him in to have a cup of tea. After that he
came often.

Once his mouth jerked, and turning, she saw her husband in
the doorway.
She thought, One of the neighbors must have told him.
She smiled and opened her mouth to speak, but could say
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Aeneid, II, 692 - end by Virgil
Virgil
As he spoke we could hear, ever more loudly, the noise
Of the burning fires; the flood of flames was coming
Nearer and nearer. “My father, let me take you
Upon my shoulders and carry you with me.
The burden will be easy. Whatever happens,
You and I will experience it together,
Peril or safety, whichever it will be.
Little Iülus will come along beside me.
My wife will follow behind us. And you, my servants,
Listen to what I say: just as you leave
The limits of the city there is a mound,
And the vestiges of a deserted temple of Ceres,
And a cypress tree that has been preserved alive
For many years by the piety of our fathers.
We will all meet there, though perhaps by different ways
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Last Days by Maxine Kumin
Maxine Kumin
We visit by phone as the morphine haze
retreats, late afternoon, most days.
Our mingled past is set against the pin-
hole lights of cars cruising the blacked-out streets:

we four in the college smoker popping No-Doz,
honors students carrying heavy course loads
tipped sideways by sex, one by one discarding
our virginities on the altar of inverse pride,

ironing our blouses with Peter Pan collars
to wear on dates with those 90-day Wonders,
ensigns in training for the Second World War
in the Business School across the Charles River.

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The Burial of the Rev. George Gilfillan by Knight of the White Elephant of Burmah William McGonagall
Knight of the White Elephant of Burmah William McGonagall
On the Gilfillan burial day,
In the Hill o’ Balgay,
It was a most solemn sight to see,
Not fewer than thirty thousand people assembled in Dundee,
All watching the funeral procession of Gilfillan that day,
That death had suddenly taken away,
And was going to be buried in the Hill o’ Balgay.

There were about three thousand people in the procession alone,
And many were shedding tears, and several did moan,
And their bosoms heaved with pain,
Because they knew they would never look upon his like again.

There could not be fewer than fifty carriages in the procession that day,
And gentlemen in some of them that had come from far away,
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The Difficulty with a Tree by Russell Edson
Russell Edson
A woman was fighting a tree. The tree had come to rage at the woman’s attack, breaking free from its earth it waddled at her with its great root feet.
Goddamn these sentiencies, roared the tree with birds shrieking in its branches.
Look out, you’ll fall on me, you bastard, screamed the woman as she hit at the tree.
The tree whisked and whisked with its leafy branches.
The woman kicked and bit screaming, kill me kill me or I’ll kill you!

Her husband seeing the commotion came running crying, what tree has lost patience?
The ax the ax, damnfool, the ax, she screamed.
Oh no, roared the tree dragging its long roots rhythmically limping like a sea lion towards her husband.
But oughtn’t we to talk about this? cried her husband.
But oughtn’t we to talk about this, mimicked his wife.
But what is this all about? he cried.
When you see me killing something you should reason that it will want to kill me back, she screamed.

But before her husband could decide what next action to perform the tree had killed both the wife and her husband.
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Domestic Scenes by Charles Reznikoff
Charles Reznikoff
1

It was nearly daylight when she gave birth to the child,
lying on a quilt
he had doubled up for her.
He put the child on his left arm
and took it out of the room,
and she could hear the splashing water.
When he came back
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Epistle from Mrs. Yonge to Her Husband by Lady Mary Wortley Montagu
Lady Mary Wortley Montagu
Think not this paper comes with vain pretense
To move your pity, or to mourn th’ offense.
Too well I know that hard obdurate heart;
No softening mercy there will take my part,
Nor can a woman’s arguments prevail,
When even your patron’s wise example fails.
But this last privilege I still retain;
Th’ oppressed and injured always may complain.
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A Leak in the Dike by Phoebe Cary
Phoebe Cary
A Story of Holland The good dame looked from her cottage
At the close of the pleasant day,
And cheerily called to her little son
Outside the door at play:
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A Letter to Daphnis by Countess of Winchilsea Anne Finch
Countess of Winchilsea Anne Finch
This to the crown and blessing of my life,
The much loved husband of a happy wife;
To him whose constant passion found the art
To win a stubborn and ungrateful heart,
And to the world by tenderest proof discovers
They err, who say that husbands can’t be lovers.
With such return of passion as is due,
Daphnis I love, Daphnis my thoughts pursue;
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The Lowering by May Swenson
May Swenson
The flag is folded
lengthwise, and lengthwise again,
folding toward the open edge,
so that the union of stars on the blue
field remains outward in full view;
a triangular folding is then begun
at the striped end,
by bringing the corner of the folded edge
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Maximus, to Gloucester: Letter 2 by Charles Olson
Charles Olson
. . . . . tell you? ha! who
can tell another how
to manage the swimming?

he was right: people

don’t change. They only stand more
revealed. I,
likewise

1
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Next Day by Randall Jarrell
Randall Jarrell
Moving from Cheer to Joy, from Joy to All,
I take a box
And add it to my wild rice, my Cornish game hens.
The slacked or shorted, basketed, identical
Food-gathering flocks
Are selves I overlook. Wisdom, said William James,

Is learning what to overlook. And I am wise
If that is wisdom.
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O Donald! Ye Are Just the Man by Susanna Blamire
Susanna Blamire
O Donald! ye are just the man
Who, when he’s got a wife,
Begins to fratch— nae notice ta’en—
They’re strangers a’ their life.

The fan may drop— she takes it up,
The husband keeps his chair;
She hands the kettle— gives his cup—
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Shakesperian Readings by Phoebe Cary
Phoebe Cary
Oh, but to fade, and live we know not where,
To be a cold obstruction and to groan!
This sensible, warm woman to become
A prudish clod; and the delighted spirit
To live and die alone, or to reside
With married sisters, and to have the care
Of half a dozen children, not your own;
And driven, for no one wants you,
Round the pendant world; or worse than worse
Of those that disappointment and pure spite
Have driven to madness: ’Tis too horrible!
The weariest and most troubled married life
That age, ache, penury, or jealousy
Can lay on nature, is a paradise
To being an old maid.
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The Slave Auction by Frances Ellen Watkins Harper
Frances Ellen Watkins Harper
The sale began—young girls were there,
Defenseless in their wretchedness,
Whose stifled sobs of deep despair
Revealed their anguish and distress.

And mothers stood, with streaming eyes,
And saw their dearest children sold;
Unheeded rose their bitter cries,
While tyrants bartered them for gold.
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The Snail by Richard Lovelace
Richard Lovelace
Wise emblem of our politic world,
Sage snail, within thine own self curl’d;
Instruct me softly to make haste,
Whilst these my feet go slowly fast.

Compendious snail! thou seem’st to me,
Large Euclid’s strict epitome;
And in each diagram dost fling
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A Time Past by Denise Levertov
Denise Levertov
The old wooden steps to the front door
where I was sitting that fall morning
when you came downstairs, just awake,
and my joy at sight of you (emerging
into golden day—
the dew almost frost)
pulled me to my feet to tell you
how much I loved you:
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To the Ladies by Lady Mary Chudleigh
Lady Mary Chudleigh
Wife and servant are the same,
But only differ in the name:
For when that fatal knot is tied,
Which nothing, nothing can divide:
When she the word obey has said,
And man by law supreme has made,
Then all that’s kind is laid aside,
And nothing left but state and pride:
Fierce as an Eastern prince he grows,
And all his innate rigour shows:
Then but to look, to laugh, or speak,
Will the nuptial contract break.
Like mutes she signs alone must make,
And never any freedom take:
But still be governed by a nod,
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Tulips by Sylvia Plath
Sylvia Plath
The tulips are too excitable, it is winter here.
Look how white everything is, how quiet, how snowed-in.
I am learning peacefulness, lying by myself quietly
As the light lies on these white walls, this bed, these hands.
I am nobody; I have nothing to do with explosions.
I have given my name and my day-clothes up to the nurses
And my history to the anesthetist and my body to surgeons.

They have propped my head between the pillow and the sheet-cuff
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Whoever You Are Holding Me Now in Hand by Walt Whitman
Walt Whitman
Whoever you are holding me now in hand,
Without one thing all will be useless,
I give you fair warning before you attempt me further,
I am not what you supposed, but far different.

Who is he that would become my follower?
Who would sign himself a candidate for my affections?

The way is suspicious, the result uncertain, perhaps destructive,
You would have to give up all else, I alone would expect to be your sole and exclusive standard,
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Woman Unborn by Anna Swir
Anna Swir
I am not born as yet,
five minutes before my birth.
I can still go back
into my unbirth.
Now it’s ten minutes before,
now, it’s one hour before birth.
I go back,
I run
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For Edwin Wilson by A. R. Ammons
A. R. Ammons
Did wind and wave design the albatross's wing,
honed compliances: or is it effrontery to
suggest that the wing designed the gales and

seas: are we guests here, then, with all the
gratitude and soft-walking of the guest:
provisions and endurances of riverbeds,

mountain shoulders, windings through of tulip
poplar, grass, and sweet-frosted foxgrape:
are we to come into these and leave them as

they are: are the rivers in us, and the slopes,
ours that the world's imitate, or are we
mirrorments merely of a high designing aloof
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An Ode to Ben Jonson by Robert Herrick
Robert Herrick
Ah Ben!
Say how, or when
Shall we thy guests
Meet at those lyric feasts
Made at the Sun,
The Dog, the Triple Tun?
Where we such clusters had
As made us nobly wild, not mad;
And yet each verse of thine
Outdid the meat, outdid the frolic wine.

My Ben
Or come again,
Or send to us
Thy wit's great overplus;
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Baseball by Gail Mazur
Gail Mazur
for John Limon The game of baseball is not a metaphor
and I know it’s not really life.
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Clear-seeing by Edgar Bowers
Edgar Bowers
Bavaria, 1946 The clairvoyante, a major general’s wife,
The secretaries’ sibyl, read the letters
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Dedication for a Plot of Ground by William Carlos Williams
William Carlos Williams
This plot of ground
facing the waters of this inlet
is dedicated to the living presence of
Emily Dickinson Wellcome
who was born in England; married;
lost her husband and with
her five year old son
sailed for New York in a two-master;
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Epistles to Several Persons: Epistle II: To a Lady on the Characters of Women by Alexander Pope
Alexander Pope
Nothing so true as what you once let fall,
"Most Women have no Characters at all."
Matter too soft a lasting mark to bear,
And best distinguish'd by black, brown, or fair.

How many pictures of one nymph we view,
All how unlike each other, all how true!
Arcadia's Countess, here, in ermin'd pride,
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far memory by Lucille Clifton
Lucille Clifton
a poem in seven parts 1
convent

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Fruit-gathering LV by Rabindranath Tagore
Rabindranath Tagore

Tulsidas, the poet, was wandering, deep in thought, by the Ganges, in that lonely spot where they burn their dead.
He found a woman sitting at the feet of the corpse of her dead husband, gaily dressed as for a wedding.
She rose as she saw him, bowed to him, and said, "Permit me, Master, with your blessing, to follow my husband to heaven."
"Why such hurry, my daughter?" asked Tulsidas. "Is not this earth also His who made heaven?"
"For heaven I do not long," said the woman. "I want my husband."
Tulsidas smiled and said to her, "Go back to your home, my child. Before the month is over you will find your husband."
The woman went back with glad hope. Tulsidas came to her every day and gave her high thoughts to think, till her heart was filled to the brim with divine love.
When the month was scarcely over, her neighbours came to her, asking, "Woman, have you found your husband?"
The widow smiled and said, "I have."
Eagerly they asked, "Where is he?"
"In my heart is my lord, one with me," said the woman.

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Holy Sonnets: Show me dear Christ, thy spouse so bright and clear by John Donne
John Donne
Show me dear Christ, thy spouse so bright and clear.
What! is it she which on the other shore
Goes richly painted? or which, robb'd and tore,
Laments and mourns in Germany and here?
Sleeps she a thousand, then peeps up one year?
Is she self-truth, and errs? now new, now outwore?
Doth she, and did she, and shall she evermore
On one, on seven, or on no hill appear?
Dwells she with us, or like adventuring knights
First travel we to seek, and then make love?
Betray, kind husband, thy spouse to our sights,
And let mine amorous soul court thy mild Dove,
Who is most true and pleasing to thee then
When she'is embrac'd and open to most men.

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The Leaf Pile by Alicia Ostriker
Alicia Ostriker
Now here is a typical children’s story
that happens in gorgeous October
when the mothers are coming
in the afternoon, wearing brisk boots
and windy skirts to pick up
the little children from the day care center

Frost in the air
the maples golden and crimson
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34
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Lilacs by Amy Lowell
Amy Lowell
Lilacs,
False blue,
White,
Purple,
Color of lilac,
Your great puffs of flowers
Are everywhere in this my New England.
Among your heart-shaped leaves
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Lines on Locks (or Jail and the Erie Canal) by John Logan
John Logan
1

Against the low, New York State
mountain background, a smokestack
sticks up
and gives out
its snakelike wisp.
Thin, stripped win-
ter birches pick up the vertical lines.
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42
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Love for a Hand by Karl Shapiro
Karl Shapiro
Two hands lie still, the hairy and the white,
And soon down ladders of reflected light
The sleepers climb in silence. Gradually
They separate on paths of long ago,
Each winding on his arm the unpleasant clew
That leads, live as a nerve, to memory.

But often when too steep her dream descends,
Perhaps to the grotto where her father bends
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Patterns by Amy Lowell
Amy Lowell
I walk down the garden paths,
And all the daffodils
Are blowing, and the bright blue squills.
I walk down the patterned garden paths
In my stiff, brocaded gown.
With my powdered hair and jewelled fan,
I too am a rare
Pattern. As I wander down
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44
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Sappho by James Wright
James Wright
Ach, in den Armen hab ich sie alle verloren, du nur, du wirst immer wieder geboren ....
—Rilke, Die Aufzeichnungen des Malte Laurids Brigge The twilight falls; I soften the dusting feathers,
And clean again.
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Sarah Brown by Edgar Lee Masters
Edgar Lee Masters
Maurice, weep not, I am not here under this pine tree.
The balmy air of spring whispers through the sweet grass,
The stars sparkle, the whippoorwill calls,
But thou grievest, while my soul lies rapturous
In the blest Nirvana of eternal light!
Go to the good heart that is my husband,
Who broods upon what he calls our guilty love: i
Tell him that my love for you, no less than my love for him
Wrought out my destiny i that through the flesh
I won spirit, and through spirit, peace.
There is no marriage in heaven,
But there is love.

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43
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Sonnet 94: They that have power to hurt and will do none by William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare
They that have power to hurt and will do none,
That do not do the thing they most do show,
Who, moving others, are themselves as stone,
Unmoved, cold, and to temptation slow:
They rightly do inherit heaven's graces
And husband nature's riches from expense;
They are the lords and owners of their faces,
Others but stewards of their excellence.
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Sonnet 23: Methought I saw my late espoused saint by John Milton
John Milton
Methought I saw my late espoused saint
Brought to me, like Alcestis, from the grave,
Whom Jove's great son to her glad husband gave,
Rescu'd from death by force, though pale and faint.
Mine, as whom wash'd from spot of child-bed taint
Purification in the old Law did save,
And such as yet once more I trust to have
Full sight of her in Heaven without restraint,
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A Sunset of the City by Gwendolyn Brooks
Gwendolyn Brooks
Kathleen Eileen Already I am no longer looked at with lechery or love.
My daughters and sons have put me away with marbles and dolls,
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34
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To the Young Wife by Charlotte Anna Perkins Gilman
Charlotte Anna Perkins Gilman
Are you content, you pretty three-years’ wife?
Are you content and satisfied to live
On what your loving husband loves to give,
And give to him your life?

Are you content with work, — to toil alone,
To clean things dirty and to soil things clean;
To be a kitchen-maid, be called a queen, —
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121
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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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39
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I Am the Woman by William Vaughn Moody
William Vaughn Moody
I am the Woman, ark of the law and its breaker,
Who chastened her steps and taught her knees to be meek,
Bridled and bitted her heart and humbled her cheek,
Parcelled her will, and cried "Take more!" to the taker,
Shunned what they told her to shun, sought what they bade her seek,
Locked up her mouth from scornful speaking: now it is open to speak.

I am she that is terribly fashioned, the creature
Wrought in God's perilous mood, in His unsafe hour.
The morning star was mute, beholding my feature,
Seeing the rapture I was, the shame, and the power,
Scared at my manifold meaning; he heard me call
"O fairest among ten thousand, acceptable brother!"
And he answered not, for doubt; till he saw me crawl
And whisper down to the secret worm, "O mother,
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