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April 20, 2013


The first time I remember reading poetry was at my grandfather's cabin. There were old books all over the place, including several in the room my siblings & I slept in when we stayed there. I used to stay up late reading a few pages of each, never a whole book, until I fell asleep in a pile of pages. I don't remember the poets whose work was kept in that room, but I remember being fascinated by the shape of poetry on the page.

When I was very little and afraid of thunderstorms, my mother would tell me to keep reciting the first line of the poem "Achamillai Achamillai" (I have no fear, I have no fear) by the Tamil poet Subramania Bharati. I never learnt the poem in its entirety; but that refrain remains with me to this day.

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I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark

from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman

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This Way Out

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Ringfinger was nervous
Pinky terrified
when they learned
that Hand might succumb
to the rule of Thumb.



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