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« "Modern Love": XVII [by George Meredith] | Main | "So I said like why so he said like maybe" [by Molly Arden] »

November 26, 2023


Sounds. Sounds. What a beautiful mystery in this poem.

This is a splendid poem, holding the speaker’s mother’s darkness up to the light . . . It’s not a sonnet per se, but it turns like one after the double line-break. Nicely done altogether!

glorious resonance in every line and the image you chose to go with the poem terence, one of your best posts in your picks of the weeks, and that's saying something, i want more of cao's artistry

Pain made beautiful

Michael: Thanks for the comment.

I'm wiser after having just read this very smart poem that's such a treat to the ear. Diana, you showed us something substantial here. Terence, glad to have this poem--thanks!

Thanks for that comment, my friend.

So beautifully controlled and so heartbreaking.

“At some point, learning comes too late”: that’s a chilling, credible statement. Diana Cao does a nimble job of unpacking it through her vivid delineation of the behavior of a rescue dog. Her near-analogy of the dog with her mother who “slaps the glasses / off my father’s face, laughing, her sharp edges / blunted into the barking violence of a bully” culminates into something “like surrender” (Cao’s italics). That is both heart-breaking and unmooring. “Redemption is for those / who remember,” but what happens when we can’t or won’t? The answer resides in the only other words Cao italicizes: “Be good.” Can anything be more bluntly basic? What happened to “Rage, rage against the dying of the light,” as Dylan Thomas urged in his famous villanelle? The answer is cruelly simple: you have to be aware of the dying light to rage against it. Brava, Cao!

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That Ship Has Sailed
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"Lively and affectionate" Publishers Weekly


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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