restricted access Touchstones

From: The Cento

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158 DAVID LEHMAN Touchstones That, in Aleppo once, where With nectar pure his oozy locks he laves, Bloom, O ye amaranths! Bloom for whom ye may, Till elevators drop us from our day . . . And would it have been worth it, after all, To let the warm love in Or stain her honor or her new brocade To a green thought in a green shade? As though to protect what it advertises, Surely some revelation is at hand; My music shows ye have your closes, And to die is different from what anyone supposed, and luckier. Blind mouths! as from an unextinguished hearth, Me only cruel immortality Consumes: whatever dies was not mixed equally But does a human form display Alone and palely loitering, like a rose rabbi. O could I lose all father now! for why I wretch lay wrestling with (my God!) My God, Honey of generation had betrayed. 159 These modifications of matter into innocent athletes Whose action is no stronger than a flower Through Eden took their solitary way. I, too, dislike it. With rue my heart is laden. If you are coming down through the narrows of the River Kiang, Where knock is open wide, Fear death by water. To begin the morning right, The small rain down can rain Where ignorant armies clash by night Though I sang in my chains like the sea. Nor law, nor duty bade me fight, Nor, in thy marble vault, shall sound Joy’s grape, with how sad steps, O Moon, With naked foot stalking in my chamber. The dark italics it could not propound, And so—for God’s sake—hock and soda-water! ...


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Subject Headings

  • Found poetry, American.
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