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  • More for Santob(de Carrión 14th -c. Castile)
  • Peter Cole (bio)

1. everyone’s so high

Everyone’s so high on “Yes.”Nothing has made me happier, though,than the day I asked my lover ifshe had “another”—and she said “No.”

2. spell in praise

A choir of quatrains    in praise of the servantwho asks of me nothing    for what he does.

For years he’s afforded me    spectacular favors,as though in fact he    served out of love. [End Page 111]

He somehow bears—    though slight in stature—the weight of the world    within his words,

and blind he sees    what I hold in mind;deaf he absorbs    what I’ve not yet heard.

He knows what I want    before I’ve spoken,and without speaking    says who I am.

And so I’ve done    as my debts demanded,and sung for this spell    in praise of the pen.

3. how friends act

Is anything better    than a pair of scissors,which separates those    that separate them?

They do this not    because they’re bitter,but out of desire    to meet again.

When they’re joined,    they do no harm—hand to hand    and lip to lip;

only when parted    can they destroy—that’s how strong    their loyalty is. [End Page 112]

Those who’d learn    what brotherhood means,and how friends act    when all is done,

should watch as scissors    make one of two—and when they have to—    two of one.

4. for being born

For being born    on a bush of thornsthe rose is certainly    worth no less—

nor should wine    be scorned that’s finebut comes from lesser    parts of the vine.

The hawk is likewise    no less blessedbecause it was born    in a humble nest—

and proverbs aren’t    less noble or truefor being spoken    by a Jew. [End Page 113]

Peter Cole
Yale University
Peter Cole

Peter Cole’s most recent book of poems is the The Invention of Influence (New Directions), which is dedicated to María Rosa Menocal and from which “More for Santob” is reprinted.



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pp. 111-113
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