The Lecture Poem by Allen Grossman

The Lecture

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Place a man in the center, and he becomes
The man who has prepared for a lifetime
To answer, and now is ready.

There are trees at the edge of the clearing,
More often a sea. He talks on and on.
And his voice is carried up by the thermals
At the sea's edge, or down among the dark
Anfractuous trees, and the textile moss.
The lesson is staggering, and the examples
Come to hand like sheaves in a great harvest.

But, in fact, there are no trees, there is no sea,
And the center is some eccentric region
Of a bed or a room, and the question
Is the half-demented glance of a child,
Or a blurred silence on the telephone,
For which the man who has prepared a lifetime
Is ready.

But the harvest is a great harvest.

After a long time, the voice of the man
Stops. It was good to talk on and on.
He rises. And the sea or forest becomes
A level way reaching to night and the thunder.

But, in fact, there is not night. There is
No thunder

Mikhail 14 December 2018

This poem was dedicated to David B. Zilberman, a remarkable philosopher who emigrated form the USSR in 1973 and in 1975-1977 worked in Brandeis University at the same time as Grossman was working there. Zilberman died in July 1977, he was struck by a car while riding his bicycle home from the University Grossman delivered this poem at the funeral.

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