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Kamarck, Edward (ed.) / Arts in society: the arts of activism
(1969)

Willard, Nancy
Part VII: poems of vision and action: a poem to tell the time by,   pp. [434]-436 PDF (2.0 MB)


Page [434]


Etching by Richard Wilt
Nancy Willard, the author of THE LIVELY
ANATOMY OF GOD (Eakins) and poems
in many periodicals, teaches at Vassar.
A POEM TO TELL THE TIME BY
Last night you packed and left home.
I would guess you are almost twenty.
You take your seat on this train at Albany
and share your sandwich with me at Buffalo.
A journey makes fathers and sons of strangers.
So I will tell you how I lost everything.
At sixteen I pitched straw in my father's barn,
under its wishbone windows pointing to heaven.
The black bull hunched like a fallen priest,
the congregation of grass leaned after him,
whitening toward winter and turning to hay.
My grandmother was kind to Indians.
She met a wolf in the fields and prayed.
Where two dogs rolled one night, the parched corn
stood up for joy. Where my father's plough
skirted a headstone like a buoy
I heard the running sleep of a stone man.


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