Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, HOW THEY GO ON, by JAMES GALVIN



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HOW THEY GO ON, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: The otherwise beautiful girl
Last Line: The same as if they heard and understood
Subject(s): Beauty


The otherwise beautiful girl
With eyes closed
Is not exactly sleeping.

A reverie of dust
obscures the photographs,
Endures the unendurable furniture.

If not to wake her,
If not, softly,
To ask what is left

Under this last, most oceanic circumstance,
The relatives lean in one by one,
As if she might tell them

How it is.
Her ears are more like seashells now,
Where those who loved her

Bend to listen, listen,
And move on,
The same as if they heard and understood.


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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