Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, A LETTER FOR MARIAN, by THOMAS MCGRATH

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A LETTER FOR MARIAN, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: I sit musing, ten minutes from the jap
Subject(s): Capital Punishment; Politics & Government; Hanging; Executions; Death Penalty

I sit musing, ten minutes from the Jap,
Six hours by sun from where my heart is,
Forty-three years into the hangman's century,
Half of them signed with the difficult homage
Of personal existence.

My candle is burning at both ends and the middle,
And my halo is blazing, but I'm blind as a bat.
If fortune knocks twice, no one will answer.
Am going on instruments, my private weather
Socked in zero zero.

Sorely troubled by the need for identity
And its best expression, communication.
But the lights fail on the hills, the voice is lost in
The night of the army, or even in death, its
Big fog.

When the telephone rings there's a war on each end.
The message arrives, but there's no one to sign for it.
No one can translate the songs of the birds or
The words on the radio where the ignorant enemy
Is jamming all frequencies.

The need is definition of private boundaries:
This hill is my heart: and these worn mountains
What honor remains: this forest, what courage;
Bounded by love and by need, my frontiers
Extend to include you;

Or the need to say: this is the word and this
Its easiest meaning -- for the brave words are all now
Devoured by the small souls from within:
Politicos offer the embroidered noose:
"See if this fits you."

Needed between all men and all peoples
For history to turn on the pimp and the slaver
The eyes of the poor and their terrible judgment.
Simple as the lover says "I am yours."
But not so easy.

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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