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This poem is taken from PN Review 172, Volume 33 Number 2, November - December 2006.

On and Off the Broken Inland Shore Stephen Burt

Tired of defending the visible world
And everything in it, Orpheus sat by a rock
Of banded gneiss and set his lyre down.
Nothing he plucked or fingered could give
Pleasure, he thought, and as for unaccompanied
Song, why compete? A carolling thrush
Considered its wings and toted them away.
He named a pale, curly sprawling lichen nostalgia.
He named a blue arc and a calyx on white stems.
He remembered this margin as it appeared when he left
The Mediterranean to settle here
In hopes of an audience capable of surprise...

Now Orpheus is travailing
Or travelling, or sailing
Over a body of water without a name
Between a flat stretch of Maryland or Delaware
...


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