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

Two Poems Anne Stevenson

Arioso Dolente*
For my grandchildren when they become grandparents

Mother, who read and thought and poured herself into me;
she was the jug and I was the two-eared cup.
How she would scorn today's 'show-biz inanity!'
'Democracy twisted! Its high ideals sold up!'
      Cancer filched her voice, then cut her throat.
                Why is it
none of the faces in this family snapshot
                look upset?

Father, who ran downstairs as I practised the piano;
barefooted, buttoning his shirt, he shouted 'G!
D-natural, C-flat! Dolente, arioso -
Put all the griefs of the world in that change of key.'
      Who then could lay a finger on his sleeve
                to distress him with
'One day, Steve, two of your well-taught daughters
...


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