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COPYRIGHT Poem-a-Day Collection by Knopf. Compilation copyright 2009 by Knopf. All Rights Reserved. Sharing not permitted.
The American Sublime
By Wallace Stevens
How does one stand To behold the sublime, To confront the mockers, The mickey mockers And plated pairs?
When General Jackson Posed for his statue He knew how one feels. Shall a man go barefoot Blinking and blank?
But how does one feel? One grows used to the weather, The landscape and that; And the sublime comes down To the spirit itself,
The spirit and space, The empty spirit In vacant space. What wine does one drink? What bread does one eat?
Dance Lessons of the Thirties
By Donald Justice
Wafts of old incense mixed with Cuban coffee Hung on the air; a fan turned; it was summer. And (of the buried life) some last aroma Still clung to the tumbled cushions of the sofa.
At lesson time, pushed back, it used to be The thing we managed somehow just to miss With our last-second dips and whirls—all this While the Victrola wound down gradually.
And this was their exile, those brave ladies who taught us So much of art, and stepped off to their doom Demonstrating the fox-trot with their daughters Endlessly around some sad and makeshift ballroom.
O little lost Bohemias of the suburbs!
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