Spring 1940 • Vol. II No. 2 Poetry |

For an Emigrant

I In that bad year and city of your birthThey traded bread for bank-notes weight for weight,And nothing but the statues kept the smileThe waltzers wore once: excluding, innocent,The face of old and comfortable injustice.And if you wept,Dropped red into a city where the husbandlessAnd fatherless were crying too, who caredFor one more cry or one more child? You grew; Time put words into your mouth, and you put sugarUpon your window-sill and waited for a brother,The stork was greedy, ate, brought nothing in return;And life was thinking of you, took you back to Prague;At school there, timid, boisterous, you spokeThe unaccustomed Czech—The children laughed at you. But you were learningNew words and a new life, the oldCity and its new country too were learningMan’s strength: to be just; yes, to be free. "I saw summer in my time.” Summer is ending.The storms plunge from the tree of winter, deathMoves like an impulse over Europe. Child,What man is just or free?—but fortunat

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Randall Jarrell was a poet, critic, and literary essayist. From 1937 to 1939 he taught at Kenyon College, where he met John Crowe Ransom and Robert Lowell.

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Woman

By Randall Jarrell

I In that bad year and city of your birthThey traded bread for bank-notes weight for weight,And nothing but the statues kept the smileThe waltzers wore once: excluding, innocent,The face […]

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