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This poem is taken from PN Review 125, Volume 25 Number 3, January - February 1999.

Four Poems Harvey Shapiro

Oppen

The muffled sea, until you're at the margin.
Fog up and down the beach. Space obliterated,
the way it must have been for George -
by Alzheimers - when we walked from
Polk Street where he lived the few blocks
to the San Francisco waterfront, and he
didn't know whether he was in China
or at sea. At sea, I guess, is what it comes down to,
though for most of his life, at sea
meant at home to him. He crafted
the boats in which he rode out the storms.
Needle's eye was close to where he lived.
Then to end that way - compass lost -
who knew the materials, built the rough deck.


1998

These shards of our lapsed rhetoric,
...


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