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This poem is taken from PN Review 84, Volume 18 Number 4, March - April 1992.

Doctor Honoris Causa Marius Kociejowski

1

I should have seen the beard in the cradle.
And had my shepherd's breath raked your smooth face
I might have caught beyond those warbled sounds you
   made
The terrible, exact sentences they would become.
You must allow an old man's haggling with time:
A minute is a yardstick hurled through space.

               I was your teacher once.
I taught you to see in the dark of ignorance
The shapes which certain words make and those words
   too
With which men who have something to hide sheathe
   meaning with mire.
I could not abide the way you handled a blade,
Yet glad I was when you moved with guile against your
   foes.
Who would not be proud to serve a boy who could bend
   with ease the bow of language?
We knew beauty once and we huddled close
...


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