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He was unprepared for what I did.

Though deeply in love with him, I shut the door.

He thought my love was the occasion to kid,

And so I made sure we wouldn’t speak anymore.

His rank dragged him into more affection,

And he scorned me when rank was there.

His rank, not my love, gave him direction,

And I understood the nature of his care.

I heard what I needed to hear, and saw what I needed to see.

This was not politics of girl and boy,

But justice, and how the life will be.

I was the poet; mine, the height and pith.

Without respect, love is a toy,

And the soul will not be toyed with.


  1. maryangeladouglas said,

    October 11, 2017 at 5:30 pm

    A most excellent poem, Mr. Graves. And, wishing you and all at Scarriet a lovely autumn I leave here a poem I just wrote, being a kind of October shaded poem: FACING THE OTHER WAY it is called.
    I think of choirs like ghost trains
    crisscrossing the prairies
    of rich violet shadowed trestles

    of the restless heart we all embody:
    our American byways.
    I dream of your folkloric remnants

    stowed away from grade school remembrances
    collections of cider tales, New England chill
    the headless horseman thrills

    and Rip returning to the village that cannot be again.
    Hawthorne branding us with his own hauntings
    and the much vaunted White Whale.Mellville Mellvile

    the very seas sound the name.

    set sail now, set forth like Whitman on the berry laden
    country road or earlier Manhatten’s scapes and the War’s
    dear, dread toll, embrace

    through you we see the harbors as they were then
    and all in all set true with green leaves bound
    in fresh air, mystical rhyme oh out of the cradle

    inexplicably beyond our own time snatched but merilly
    are we all, are now yet resting in a great expansiveness, geniality

    the light glancing off the busy waters wreathing his face.
    we would bring sprigs of lilac too, to you Walt Whitman

    at some old homeplace
    for the elegy burgeoning in the soul from year to year

    and centuries now the ghost train never disappearing
    that bore old Abe. some poems are trains too.
    some will think me corny, retrograde to remember these

    things this way but oh, I do
    and Sandburg’s double named tales and the view out Emily’s
    lone and burnished window

    cryptic, extravagant the things she knew
    and quiet fruition
    from the instant she surmised

    and I, in the classroom too
    suddenly grown too wise to

    Death’s horses, facing the other way.

    mary angela douglas 11 october 2017

    P.S. Of course allusions in the poem to Whitman’s out of the cradle endlessly rocking and Emily Dickinson’s Because I Could Not Stop for Death.

  2. October 12, 2017 at 12:27 am




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