Nov/Dec 2017 • Vol. XXXIX No. 6 Poetry |

Ballad and Proposition

after Alice Oswald   Take away my engine and I shall engineless goto find you. Take away my bees and I will flowerless walk the vectors of sweet nothings until I'm face to face with Monsanto. In my doomed town where small mechanic skills make the evenings strung out and shrill with compressors and vapors, I listen for crows and wrens to overdub our nation's ills which are forgetting and further forgetting so I don't recognize my hand,the length of rope, the knot, the limbI throw it over, the aid and abetting of the body, the shadow spans from Senegalto my doomed town where Mrs. Whitecuts off a limb that drops its intractable leaves in menacing random and illegal patterns on her lawn. The propositionis to each cut off a limb, a sacrifice to prevent destructions more terrible in the future as did the Sioux. Because I lack imagination somebody, a Christ, a boy in custody, dieseach evening. Three days wait and I forgetthe undertaking, the uprising, that wayof lif

Already have an account? Login

Join KR for even more to read.

Register for a free account to read five free pieces a month from our current issue and digital archive.
Register for Free and Read This Piece



Or become a subscriber today and get complete, immediate access to our digital archives at every subscription level.
Kenyon Review logo
Bruce Smith is the author of six books of poems, most recently Devotions, a finalist for the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Awards, the L.A. Times Book Award, and the winner of the William Carlos Williams Prize.

Read More

Garden

By Bruce Smith

after Alice Oswald   Take away my engine and I shall engineless goto find you. Take away my bees and I will flowerless walk the vectors of sweet nothings until […]

Beautiful Throat

By Bruce Smith

after Alice Oswald   Take away my engine and I shall engineless goto find you. Take away my bees and I will flowerless walk the vectors of sweet nothings until […]

Subscribe

Your free registration with Kenyon review incudes access to exclusive content, early access to program registration, and more.

Donate

With your support, we’ll continue 
to cultivate talent and publish extraordinary literature from diverse voices around the world.