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

Doctor Honoris Causa Marius Kociejowski


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
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
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
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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