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  • Three Ages
  • Christian Wiman (bio)


Who here is the finished man whose hands know only what is gone? All night he holds it as he can, his losses lost again in song.


He ran a low-grade failure from forty on. A symptom without a source, like existence. It never slowed him down. Articles, attitudes, books, belittlements, the million-tentacled insect of sleep, urine dawns, a bird called should-have-been . . . I have suffered for my art! It was like dying in a pillow fight.


Like lake ice that under a brazen boy

begins to spider and shudder

around his feet, the silence is

decisive. [End Page 29]

Christian Wiman

CHRISTIAN WIMAN is the author, editor, or translator of ten books, including Hammer is the Prayer: Selected Poems (FSG, 2016), My Bright Abyss: Meditation of a Modern Believer (FSG, 2013), and Stolen Air: Selected Poems of Osip Mandelstam (HarperCollins/Ecco, 2012).



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p. 29
Launched on MUSE
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