Fall 1945 • Vol. VII No. 4 PoetryOctober 1, 1945 |

The Writing Exercise

Straight, sideways or upside down, This pinched, copybook scrawl Rebels in patterns not its own; And remembering child's interminable cycle, Rejection pursuing Belief, wondrous desires Compelling as dreams, caught, torn up, forced Back to the weary orbit of Palmer's oval-- Strait-jacket push-pull -- the wonder is I ever learned to write at all. Their bending bosom notwithstanding, Teacher's corrections and Mother's, "Careful !" and "Watch your p's and q's," were -- How could I have doubted it? -- for their Instruction and protection, not mine. Their soft eyes, turned lovingly upon me, Widening to comprehend: widening in fear, Indignation, fierce, eager to repress Whatever unknown necessity compelled mine, I see again, and now as before my tears begin, Distorting what I loved best, and harden.No, not for the neatest hand in Christendom Would I go back, tiptoe the aisles of their love, Slip into that cramped desk to await with them, Innocent, timidly smiling, the approach Of their

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