Winter 1950 • Vol. XII No. 1 PoetryJanuary 1, 1950 |

Watcher Go Deftly

Careful, careful; you cannot be too deft With the pines on the shore and the little shells Lip-color, eyelid-color, pale as a thigh— Feel your palm tingle with little gourds and bells?   Especially you are dumb brother seaweed's keeper; Nobody likes him—clutch, a rubber glove. This, and all moon-crater gates of crawfish Look at with love.   Curious chainmail of atoms underfoot, Pandora's box too fine for fumbling—much Of this you can penetrate, being careful With that combustible touch.   But all those girls that kneel to collect shells Then straighten, thin girls, swinging back their hair, That soft explosive fire. Watcher go deftly, Is there in earth or heaven enough care?

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John Frederick Nims was the author of seven books of poetry, along with translations of Euripides, St. John of the Cross, Michaelangelo, and Ovid’s Metamorphoses. He served as editor of Poetry magazine from 1978-1984 and edited the widely used textbook Western Wind: An Introduction to Poetry.

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