Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, EVERYONE KNOWS WHOM THE SAVED ENVY, by JAMES GALVIN



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EVERYONE KNOWS WHOM THE SAVED ENVY, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: It isn't such a bad thing
Last Line: Everyone knows whom the saved envy
Subject(s): Angels; Life; Mountains; Hills; Downs (great Britain)


It isn't such a bad thing,
To live in one world forever.
You could do a lot worse:
The sexual smell of fresh-cut alfalfa
Could well be missing somewhere.
Somewhere you'd give in to some impetuous unknown,
And then stand guilty, as accused, of self-love.
It's better not to take such risks.

It's not as if we had no angels:
A handful remained when the rest moved on.
Now they work for a living,
As windmills on the open range.
They spin and stare like catatonics,
Nod toward the bedridden peaks.
They've learned their own angelic disbelief.

The mountains still breathe, I suppose,
Though barely.
The prairie still swells under a few small churches.
They are like rowboats after the ship's gone down.
Everyone knows whom the saved envy.
Runoff mirrors the sky in alpine pastures;
Imagine how quickly one's tracks unbloom there.
This world isn't such a bad world.

At least the angels are gainfully employed:
They know where the water is,
What to do with wind.
I try not to think of those others,
Like so many brides,
So many owls made of pollen
Wintering in a stand of imaginary timber.


Used with the permission of Copper Canyon Press, P.O. Box 271, Port Townsend, WA
98368-0271, www.cc.press.org




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