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Thanks to a residency at EcoHealth, my verse these days finds inspiration in the specter of future pandemics; for my dissertation at LMU München, where I tutor composition and edit a poetry weekly, I'm anatomizing the prosody of E. A. Robinson's sonnets—I also teach at MVHS and lead the Amerikahaus Literary Circle.


Walt Whitman

by Edwin Arlington Robinson

The master-songs are ended, and the man
That sang them is a name.  And so is God
A name; and so is love, and life, and death,
And everything.  But we, who are too blind
To read what we have written, or what faith
Has written for us, do not understand:
We only blink, and wonder.

Last night it was the song that was the man,
But now it is the man that is the song.
We do not hear him very much to-day:
His piercing and eternal cadence rings
Too pure for us—too powerfully pure,
Too lovingly triumphant, and too large;
But there are some that hear him, and they know
That he shall sing to-morrow for all men,
And that all time shall listen.

The master-songs are ended?  Rather say
No songs are ended that are ever sung,
And that no names are dead names.  When we write
Men's letters on proud marble or on sand,
We write them there forever.

Note:  A recitation can be heard here.

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