Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, HISTORY, by MALCOLM COWLEY

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

HISTORY, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: If I told you that in this house
Last Line: Nothing more than this.
Subject(s): History; Home; Historians

If I told you that in this house
with boarded windows, where doors gape stupidly,
where grey wallpaper twists away from the plaster like the whorls of a dead
brain --
If I told you that in this house there lived
Solomon Carney; that he built the fireplace
with a trowel and a hammer and his two hands;
that John and Rebecca died here of smallpox in the year when the doctor was
held at Beulah, twenty miles away;
or about the last son, Amos, who cleared the back fields
and married in time and was crushed in the first steam thresher;
and about his children that moved West (O the slow bleeding of the soil)

If I told you this it would mean as much to you
as an entry in a second-hand Bible -- no more.
And yet the Rome of Edward Gibbon,
seven volumes of print, cast in eight point solid with footnotes, contains
nothing more than this.

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