Winter 1995 • Vol. XVII No. 1 Poetry |

From “Rimbaud”: The Impossible

                                 for Lou   Rain, snow, ice storms, peaceful sunny days, I was riveted to life, a beggar cruising the endless road. Oblivious, stupid, proud, preternaturally calm, who needed friends or country? O my ecstatic childhood, I was right to hate what I hated. Listen: in Hell we don't give even the dying a penny, but we're civil. We see the world correctly. We're not salesmen. Nothing hurts us, not even the surly, confident ones, the false elect, who humiliate us, refuse to bless us. Western swamps, you've sponged up all the light! My soul won't stop grieving. I'd have to strangle myself to end these bleak hymns honestly. When I confronted the King of Hell, I said: Fuck martyrdom, fuck the sublime glow of art, the seriousness of inventors, the fervor of businessmen and thieves. The East is a dream of never waking up. I wasn't pondering my escape from contemporary anguish. I was

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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   Rain, snow, ice storms, peaceful sunny days, I was riveted to life, a beggar cruising the endless road. Oblivious, stupid, proud, preternaturally calm, who needed friends or […]

From “Rimbaud”: Happiness

By Stephen Berg

                                 for Lou   Rain, snow, ice storms, peaceful sunny days, I was riveted to life, a beggar cruising the endless road. Oblivious, stupid, proud, preternaturally calm, who needed friends or […]

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