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Prairie Schooner 79.4 (2005) 80-81

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Lost Armies, and: Other Autumns, and: Lorem Ipsum Dolor

Lost Armies

It's hard to take a man seriously when he's named Donald Duck,
though before Disney there were a few, and Diane Whipple
is difficult to imagine in anything she'd recognize as her life
because of its final minutes, but that hall, those dogs, are her history
and our own. As Gettysburg was replaced by a battle,
the word Gettysburg once replaced trees. Words are rewritten
as what they mean. Ancient species appeared faithfully
in the fossil record for millions of years then vanished
because something altered or arrived and overtook them
as a falling object accumulates speed. There are moments
I am fully occupied, embedded in my life, when I can observe
the difference between this moment and that one,
this yes and the ones that came before.
It's the ordinary that worries me: whether it's baseline or loss,
whether to find melodies through tension and tuning
or whether to just stop and sing.

Other Autumns

We are spending a few months away from home
and we must remember this time is also happening there.
When we return, we will not find a second autumn
and the yard full of soft and fragrant apples. It is sad
that the early performances of Maria Callas exist [End Page 80]
only in the hearts of the people who heard them
and one day will be gone forever,
that when Prokofiev was called away from Moscow
and his returning train was cancelled, he heard his symphony
played for the first time over the phone.
"It is not too bad," he said, or they say he said.

Lorem Ipsum Dolor

For four centuries it's been reset
letter for letter out of fidelity and habit,
holding a place for text and borders and to model
the new font finery. Greek, compositors call it.
Meaning: nothing, nonsense. But it's a snatch of Cicero and it says
There is no one who loves pain itself, who seeks after it
and wants to have it simply because it is pain.
Still there are the great cliffs and beyond them the sea.
Susan Hutton's poems have been published in Epoch, Ploughshares, FIELD, and other magazines. She is currently director of development at the independent poetry publisher Autumn House Press.



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pp. 80-81
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