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(July 14,1943 / Newport, Rhode Island)

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The Poet As Teacher

Knowing he is caught in a version
of his life
he prunes back the imagination
prioritizing the unimportant:
lesson plans, curriculum, schedules
and who has a hat on in class.
He cuts the nervous connection
to the light of the fountain
the font of the light
puts on blue blazer and tie
creased tan slacks
armored against the day.

He knows beneath the textbooks
the patterns of endless editions
shines a jewel of such intensity
that he can sometimes reach
half-extinguished souls as a shrewd master
touches the strings of an unturned instrument
and produces a perfect C.

And this too is art, he tells himself
trying not to deface what is real
carving the ivory of his life
more carefully in the rare moment
of solitude the work allows
summoning up the necessary connections
getting the poem wrong occasionally
or the lesson
caught in a version of his life:
practicing resurrection.

Submitted: Thursday, February 28, 2013


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