Howard Nemerov
A Life by Howard Nemerov

A Life by Howard Nemerov

Innocence? In a sense. In no sense! Was that it? Was that it? Was that it? That was it.

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September, The First Day Of School by Howard Nemerov

September, The First Day Of School by Howard Nemerov

IMy child and I hold hands on the way to school,And when I leave him at the first-grade doorHe cries a little but is brave; he doesLet go. My selfish tears remind me howI cried ...

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Because You Asked About The Line Between Prose And Poetry by Howard Nemerov

Because You Asked About The Line Between Prose And Poetry by Howard Nemerov

Sparrows were feeding in a freezing drizzleThat while you watched turned into pieces of snowRiding a gradient invisibleFrom silver aslant to random, white, and slow.There came a ...

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The Host, He Says That All Is Well by Howard Nemerov

The Host, He Says That All Is Well by Howard Nemerov

He didn't want to do it with skill,He'd had enough of skill. If he never sawAnother villanelle, it would be too soon; And the same went for sonnets. If it had beenHard work ...

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Insomnia I by Howard Nemerov

Insomnia I by Howard Nemerov

Some nights it's bound to be your best way out,When nightmare is the short end of the stick,When sleep is a part of town where it's not safeTo walk at night, when waking is the ...

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Learning By Doing by Howard Nemerov

Learning By Doing by Howard Nemerov

They're taking down a tree at the front door,The power saw is snarling at some nerves,Whining at others. Now and then it grunts,And sawdust falls like snow or a drift of ...

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The Goose Fish by Howard Nemerov

The Goose Fish by Howard Nemerov

On the long shore, lit by the moonTo show them properly alone,Two lovers suddenly embracedSo that their shadows were as one.The ordinary night was gracedFor them by the swift tide ...

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Learning The Trees by Howard Nemerov

Learning The Trees by Howard Nemerov

Before you can learn the trees, you have to learnThe language of the trees. That's done indoors,Out of a book, which now you think of itIs one of the transformations of a tree.The ...

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Walking The Dog by Howard Nemerov

Walking The Dog by Howard Nemerov

Two universes mosey down the streetConnected by love and a leash and nothing else.Mostly I look at lamplight through the leavesWhile he mooches along with tail up and snout ...

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Poetics by Howard Nemerov

Poetics by Howard Nemerov

You know the old story Ann Landers tellsAbout the houseife in her basement doing the wash?She's wearing her nightie, and she thinks, "Well, hell,I might's well put this in as ...

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Gyroscope by Howard Nemerov

Gyroscope by Howard Nemerov

This admirable gadget, when it isWound on a string and spun with steady force,Maintains its balance on most any smoothSurface, pleasantly humming as it goes.It is whirled not on a ...

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I Only Am Escaped Alone To Tell Thee by Howard Nemerov

I Only Am Escaped Alone To Tell Thee by Howard Nemerov

I tell you that I see her stillAt the dark entrance of the hall.One gas lamp burning near her shoulder Shone also from her other sideWhere hung the long inaccurate glassWhose ...

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Casting by Howard Nemerov

Casting by Howard Nemerov

The waters deep, the waters dark,Reflect the seekers, hide the sought,Whether in water or in air to drown.Between them curls the silver spark,Barbed, baited, waiting, of a ...

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Amateurs Of Heaven by Howard Nemerov

Amateurs Of Heaven by Howard Nemerov

Two lovers to a midnight meadow cameHigh in the hills, to lie there hand and handLike effigies and look up at the stars,The never-setting ones set in the NorthTo circle the Pole ...

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The Vacuum by Howard Nemerov

The Vacuum by Howard Nemerov

The house is so quiet now The vacuum cleaner sulks in the corner closet, Its bag limp as a stopped lung, its mouth Grinning into the floor, maybe at my Slovenly life, my dog-dead ...

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Fugue by Howard Nemerov

Fugue by Howard Nemerov

You see them vanish in their speeding cars, The many people hastening through the world,And wonder what they would have done beforeThis time of time speed distance, random ...

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Money by Howard Nemerov

Money by Howard Nemerov

An introductory lectureThis morning we shall spend a few minutes Upon the study of symbolism, which is basic To the nature of money. I show you this nickel. Icons and cryptograms ...

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A Spell Before Winter by Howard Nemerov

A Spell Before Winter by Howard Nemerov

After the red leaf and the gold have gone,Brought down by the wind, then by hammering rainBruised and discolored, when October's flameGoes blue to guttering in the cusp, this ...

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Threshold by Howard Nemerov

Threshold by Howard Nemerov

When in still air and still in summertimeA leaf has had enough of this, it seemsTo make up its mind to go; fine as a sageIts drifting in detachment down the road.Anonymous ...

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Storm Windows by Howard Nemerov

Storm Windows by Howard Nemerov

People are putting up storm windows now, Or were, this morning, until the heavy rain Drove them indoors. So, coming home at noon, I saw storm windows lying on the ground, ...

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The Lobster by Howard Nemerov

The Lobster by Howard Nemerov

Here at the Super Duper, in a glass tankSupplied by a rill of cold fresh waterRunning down a glass washboard at one endAnd siphoned off at the other, and soPerpetually renewed, a ...

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The Blue Swallows by Howard Nemerov

The Blue Swallows by Howard Nemerov

Across the millstream below the bridge Seven blue swallows divide the air In shapes invisible and evanescent, Kaleidoscopic beyond the mind’s Or memory’s power to keep them there. ...

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The War In The Air by Howard Nemerov

The War In The Air by Howard Nemerov

For a saving grace, we didn't see our dead, Who rarely bothered coming home to die But simply stayed away out there In the clean war, the war in the air. Seldom the ghosts come ...

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Kicks by Howard Nemerov

Kicks by Howard Nemerov

The fishermen on Lake Michigan, sometimes,For kicks, they spit two hunks of bait on hooksAt either end of a single length of lineAnd toss that up among the scavenging gulls,Who go ...

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The Makers by Howard Nemerov

The Makers by Howard Nemerov

Who can remember back to the first poets, The greatest ones, greater even than Orpheus? No one has remembered that far back Or now considers, among the artifacts, And bones and ...

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Style by Howard Nemerov

Style by Howard Nemerov

Flaubert wanted to write a novelAbout nothing. It was to have no subjectAnd be sustained upon the style alone,Like the Holy Ghost cruising aboveThe abyss, or like the little ...

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The Dependencies by Howard Nemerov

The Dependencies by Howard Nemerov

This morning, between two branches of a treeBeside the door, epeira once againHas spun and signed his tapestry and trap.I test his early-warning system andIt works, he scrambles ...

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The Beautiful Lawn Sprinkler by Howard Nemerov

The Beautiful Lawn Sprinkler by Howard Nemerov

What gives it power makes it change its mindAt each extreme, and lean its rising rainDown low, first one and then the other way;In which exchange humility and prideReverse, ...

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The Brief Journey West by Howard Nemerov

The Brief Journey West by Howard Nemerov

By the dry road the fathers cough and spit, This is their room. They are the ones who hung That bloody sun upon the southern wall And crushed the armored beetle to the floor. The ...

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Writing by Howard Nemerov

Writing by Howard Nemerov

The cursive crawl, the squared-off characters these by themselves delight, even without a meaning, in a foreign language, in Chinese, for instance, or when skaters curve all day ...

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Life Cycle Of Common Man by Howard Nemerov

Life Cycle Of Common Man by Howard Nemerov

Roughly figured, this man of moderate habits,This average consumer of the middle class,Consumed in the course of his average life spanJust under half a million cigarettes,Four ...

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To David, About His Education by Howard Nemerov

To David, About His Education by Howard Nemerov

The world is full of mostly invisible things,And there is no way but putting the mind’s eye,Or its nose, in a book, to find them out,Things like the square root of EverestOr how ...

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Lion & Honeycomb by Howard Nemerov

Lion & Honeycomb by Howard Nemerov

He didn't want to do it with skill,He'd had enough of skill. If he never sawAnother villanelle, it would be too soon;And the same went for sonnets. If it had beenHard work ...

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The Town Dump by Howard Nemerov

The Town Dump by Howard Nemerov

“The art of our necessities is strange,That can make vile things precious.”A mile out in the marshes, under a skyWhich seems to be always going awayIn a hurry, on that Venetian ...

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To D—, Dead By Her Own Hand by Howard Nemerov

To D—, Dead By Her Own Hand by Howard Nemerov

My dear, I wonder if before the end You ever thought about a children’s game— I’m sure you must have played it too—in which You ran along a narrow garden wall Pretending it to be ...

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The Consent by Howard Nemerov

The Consent by Howard Nemerov

Late in November, on a single nightNot even near to freezing, the ginkgo treesThat stand along the walk dropp all their leavesIn one consent, and neither to rain nor to windBut as ...

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The Icehouse In Summer by Howard Nemerov

The Icehouse In Summer by Howard Nemerov

A door sunk in a hillside, with a bolt thick as the boy’s arm, and behind that door the walls of ice, melting a blue, faint light, an air of cedar branches, sawdust, fern: ...

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The Painter Dreaming In The Scholar’s House by Howard Nemerov

The Painter Dreaming In The Scholar’s House by Howard Nemerov

in memory of the painters Paul Klee and Paul Terence FeeleyIThe painter’s eye follows relation out.His work is not to paint the visible,He says, it is to render visible.Being a ...

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On An Occasion Of National Mourning by Howard Nemerov

On An Occasion Of National Mourning by Howard Nemerov

It is admittedly difficult for a wholeNation to mourn and be seen to do so, butIt can be done, the silvery platitudesWere waiting in their silos for just suchAn emergent occasion, ...

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The Murder Of William Remington by Howard Nemerov

The Murder Of William Remington by Howard Nemerov

It is true, that even in the best-run state Such things will happen; it is true, What’s done is done. The law, whereby we hate Our hatred, sees no fire in the flue But by the ...

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The View From An Attic Window by Howard Nemerov

The View From An Attic Window by Howard Nemerov

Among the high-branching, leafless boughs Above the roof-peaks of the town, Snowflakes unnumberably come down. I watched out of the attic window The laced sway of family trees, ...

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Pockets by Howard Nemerov

Pockets by Howard Nemerov

Are generally over or aroundErogenous zones, they seem to diveIn the direction of thoseDark places, and indeedIt is their nature to be darkThemselves, keeping a kindOf thieves' ...

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A Day On The Big Branch by Howard Nemerov

A Day On The Big Branch by Howard Nemerov

Still half drunk, after a night at cards,with the grey dawn taking us unawareamong our guilty kings and queens, we drovefar North in the morning, winners, losers,to a stream in ...

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Magnitudes by Howard Nemerov

Magnitudes by Howard Nemerov

Earth’s Wrath at our assaults is slow to comeBut relentless when it does. It has to doWith catastrophic change, and with the limitAt which one order more of MagnitudeWill bring us ...

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A Primer Of The Daily Round by Howard Nemerov

A Primer Of The Daily Round by Howard Nemerov

A peels an apple, while B kneels to God,C telephones to D, who has a handOn E’s knee, F coughs, G turns up the sodFor H’s grave, I do not understandBut J is bringing one clay ...

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Young Woman by Howard Nemerov

Young Woman by Howard Nemerov

Naked before the glass she said, “I see my body as no man has, Nor any shall unless I wed And naked in a stranger’s house Stand timid beside his bed. There is no pity in the ...

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Found Poem by Howard Nemerov

Found Poem by Howard Nemerov

after information received in The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 4 v 86The population center of the USAHas shifted to Potosi, in Missouri.The calculation employed by authoritiesIn ...

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Political Reflection by Howard Nemerov

Political Reflection by Howard Nemerov

loquitur the sparrow in the ZooNo bars are set too close, no mesh too fineTo keep me from the eagle and the lion,Whom keepers feed that I may freely dine.This goes to show that if ...

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The Author To His Body On Their Fifteenth Birthday, 29 Ii 80 by Howard Nemerov

The Author To His Body On Their Fifteenth Birthday, 29 Ii 80 by Howard Nemerov

“There’s never a dull moment in the human body.” —The Insight LadyDear old equivocal and closest friend, Grand Vizier to a weak bewildered king, Now we approach The ...

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Witnessing The Launch Of The Shuttle Atlantis by Howard Nemerov

Witnessing The Launch Of The Shuttle Atlantis by Howard Nemerov

So much of life in the world is waiting, thatThis day was no exception, so we waitedAll morning long and into the afternoon.I spent some of the time rememberingDante, who did the ...

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