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Robert Duncan

(January 7, 1919 – February 3, 1988)

Quotations

  • ''Often I am permitted to return to a meadow
    as if it were a given property of the mind
    that certain bounds hold against chaos,

    that is a place of first permission,
    everlasting omen of what is.''
    Robert Duncan (b. 1919), U.S. poet. Often I Am Permitted to Return to a Meadow (l. 19-23). . . New Oxford Book of American Verse, The. Richard Ellmann, ed. (1976) Oxford University Press.
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  • ''The world like Great Sodom lies under Love
    and knows not the hand of the Lord that moves.''
    Robert Duncan (b. 1919), U.S. poet. This Place Rumor'd to Have Been Sodom (l. 29-30). . . New Oxford Book of American Verse, The. Richard Ellmann, ed. (1976) Oxford University Press.
  • ''This was once
    a city among men, a gathering together of spirit.
    It was measured by the Lord and found wanting.''
    Robert Duncan (b. 1919), U.S. poet. This Place Rumor'd to Have Been Sodom (l. 5-7). . . New Oxford Book of American Verse, The. Richard Ellmann, ed. (1976) Oxford University Press.
  • ''The devout have laid out gardens in the desert.''
    Robert Duncan (b. 1919), U.S. poet. This Place Rumor'd to Have Been Sodom (l. 17). . . New Oxford Book of American Verse, The. Richard Ellmann, ed. (1976) Oxford University Press.

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A Little Language

I know a little language of my cat, though Dante says
that animals have no need of speech and Nature
abhors the superfluous. My cat is fluent. He
converses when he wants with me. To speak

is natural. And whales and wolves I’ve heard
in choral soundings of the sea and air
know harmony and have an eloquence that stirs
my mind and heart—they touch the soul. Here

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