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the man with many pens

Posted by anya on September 12th, 2010 filed in Uncategorized

With one he wrote a number so beautiful
it lasted forever in the legends of numbers. With another

he described the martyrs’ feet as they marched
past the weeping stones and cypresses, watched

by their fathers. He used one as a silver wand to lift
a trout from its spawning bed to more fruitful waters

and set it back down, its mouth facing upstream.
He wrote Time has no other river but this one in us,

no other use but this turn in us from mountain lakes
of late desires to confusions passed through

with every gate open. Let’s not say he didn’t take us
with him in the long current of his letters, his calligraphy

and craft, moving from port to port, his hand stopping
near his heart, the hand that smudged and graced the page,

asking, asking, his fingers beggar’s lucent black,
for the word that gave each of us away.

-Jonathan Wells

(taken from the July 26, 2010 issue of The New Yorker)

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