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"Sage" [by Sarah Arvio]


O sage I know I am I am a sage
I know unkindness is a selfish act
a straight fish act or fishy furtive act

fish or fowl and a slice of the knife
In the word selfish have you seen the fish
I meant to write you a poem of love

green sage grey sage and sings the silver wind
Swing me on the swing sway me with your hand
swing me on the wind these were all my song

The geese in their V's are yipping like dogs
along the selvedge of the winter woods
There must be an edge to the self a hedge

against hell Must be an edge or a verge
Here is the self-edge that you cut against\
Here I am savaged I meant to be saved

O sage I know I am I am a sage
I know unkindness is a savage act
and savageness is never savory

Is your heart assuaged Well mine is not
O sweet here I am whispering an urge
for the good life if goodness can be had

the great fields the geese the edge of the wood
What scraps can I salvage for the soup When
soup can't assuage there is no love to save

-- Sarah Arvio
from The New Republic [December 3, 2008]

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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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