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This poem is taken from PN Review 133, Volume 26 Number 5, May - June 2000.

Two Poems Robert Nye

An English Education

Before I went to school my grandmother
Taught me to read by reading verse to me.
She'd sit me on her knee and have me point
To words in the big book of nursery rhymes
Which she then chanted like a magic spell.
I learned not just the words but what words do
When they are set to sing and dance together
In unison, the sound and sense as one.

At school I had a teacher called Miss Joyce
Whose joy was choral speaking. She beat time
With a white wand while we declaimed the Psalms.
From her I learned that one deep breath indrawn
Suffices for the saying of a line
With five beats in it, or ten syllables.
But most she taught me how the heart speaks best
...


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