Winter 1995 • Vol. XVII No. 1 PoetryJanuary 1, 1995 |

From “Rimbaud”: Happiness

                                 for Lou   Each of us is doomed to be happy, forced to live many lives. Each of us will be crushed on the anvil of terror, reborn by awe. Action isn't life, it spoils God's power, it drains the last prayers from our throats. The soul's theater is invisible—sight, hearing, taste, smell, senses without organs. Listen: each of us lives many lives—plumbers, angels, athletes, electricians, gods. Once I was a pig. I champion all axioms of madness. I lived them all, I know the system. Terror gnaws my mind. The same dream drags me back into it, destroys the real world, calls me to inhabit it permanently. I'm ready to die, ready to be wind, darkness, ghosts. It's as if God's final curse is a live coal broiling my tongue. Islands and crystal blue sea, I dream you'll wash away this disease of unspecified truths, I see the cross loom like redemption. The rainbow led me here, wh

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Stephen Berg founded and edited the American Poetry Review. His collections of poetry include The Daughters (1971), Grief (1975), In It (1986), New & Selected Poems (1992), Shaving (1998), and 58 Poems (2013). He taught at Princeton and Haverford College and served as a professor of humanities at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. His honors and awards include fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Pew Foundation. He received a PEN grant in translation and the Frank O’Hara Prize.

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Hymn

By Stephen Berg

                                 for Lou   Each of us is doomed to be happy, forced to live many lives. Each of us will be crushed on the anvil of terror, reborn by awe. […]

From “Rimbaud”: The Impossible

By Stephen Berg

                                 for Lou   Each of us is doomed to be happy, forced to live many lives. Each of us will be crushed on the anvil of terror, reborn by awe. […]

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