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Mark Olival-Bartley studied applied linguistics at Hawaii Pacific University, attaining B.A. and M.A. degrees in TESOL, and poetry at the City College of New York. He is now anatomizing the prosody of E. A. Robinson’s sonnets for his dissertation at Amerika Institut of LMU Munich, where also he edits a poetry weekly. His poems and translations have appeared in journals on both sides of the Atlantic. He is the resident poet at EcoHealth, where his science-themed verse is regularly featured, and a senior copyeditor of Review of International American Studies.

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As It Looked Then

by Edwin Arlington Robinson

In a sick shade of spruce, moss-webbed, rock-fed,
Where, long unfollowed by sagacious man,
A scrub that once had been a pathway ran
Blindly from nowhere and to nowhere led,
One might as well have been among the dead
As half way there alive; so I began
Like a malingering pioneer to plan
A vain return--with one last look ahead.

And it was then that like a spoken word
Where there was none to speak, insensibly
A flash of blue that might have been a bird
Grew soon to the calm wonder of the sea--
Calm as a quiet sky that looked to be
Arching a world where nothing had occurred.

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