Three Poems

Lynn Strongin

The Failure to Speak miraculous things

could result in death.
Pressed up against the wall
the bookcase covered Anne Frank:
prayers against penury
of spirit:
the spirit overflowed with richness but the body lost.

You draw me a bridge on paper of charcoal     paper with nub & tooth:
I wheel thru
I open my arms
you open your arms
hope grafts wings
with a paper swish
crepe de Chine

Braided air.
now an elbow
now a shafting
dark eye
so fluent
but obviously flawed
spilling like liquid bronze the whole narration:
I flew too near the sun.


Hitting my Stride by Third Cabin Morning

I circle a porthole
with wing
humming broken Yiddish.
How come every time I run into you
with your gap-toothed smile
even on your way to the Cancer Clinic
in August
to receive more burns from radiation
because you take a doll to a girl
who will not live
I am happy.

I lean my poverty up against your poverty.
We are not nailed to each other.
Your silhouette
moves apart from mine
like clay crumbling from form.
I cling
to the very room the words are in, the poem’s
and dear to me as anything,     speech of the miraculous     that it
live:     even amid
the sight of ruins.


Birch Candles

Mahogany holds their burning circles
in its table mirror.
Dust coats the ceiling.
Honeygold islands
hang out the window
& books     dot the room.
Garlic with olive oil in the pan
is what I hold     common
—loss ironed out the hour I am cooking:
And stoicism
in league with the Greeks’
the rest from the Romans. pencil

These poems are “part of a sequence, Prayers Against Penury. I have poems in roughly 50 journals (Italy, England, Canada, the States.) Work in thirty anthologies, and nine published books of poems. I worked for Denise Levertov in the sixties, studied informally under Robert Duncan. My anthology The Sorrow Psalms:A Book of Twentieth Century Elegy will be published by the University of Iowa Press, April 2006. Work on-line in: Hotel Amerika, Storie, New Works Review (featured poet, winter 2005), C / Oasis, Terrain, Tryst, Avatar, Chiaroscuro.” E-mail: yosunt[at]

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