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Poem of the Month - May 2004
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from Gathering Wild

Everything hurts.

Not merely sad
but sad from birth,
born in an outsize
overcoat of grief,

even in love the twinges seizing
flank and thigh ...

So seeing the routine
traffic in chagrin,
he stuffed a briefcase with pain,
found the broker, one shrewd man
for whom his cheeks shone
wet with honest rain,
and went wandering.

Flayed by love (or the lack),
by some dream or fact,
noble, alert Old Sorrow
knows the name and worth of every absent joy.

When first he'd stirred in unformed darkness
it was continuing
that lucky violet caul
still tints his world.

His sliding shadow paints distress
but Misery himself moves on intact,
tragic, hale, erect,
dressed to rule in purple or else black,
calm as Sunday
but forever wracked
by the private salutary ache,
his trophy that
long-battered heart and all
the pain-kissed emblems
of embattled art.

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