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As the resident artist at EcoHealth, I pen verse these days inspired by the specter of future pandemics; for my dissertation at Amerika-Institut of LMU München, where I edit a weekly circular on poetry, I'm anatomizing the prosody of E. A. Robinson's sonnets—I also teach English, tutor composition, and lead a literary circle.


I Hate

by C. K. Williams

I hate how this unsummoned sigh-sound, sob-sound, 
not sound really, feeling, sigh-feeling, sob-feeling, 
keeps rising in me, rasping in me, not in its old disguise 
as nostalgia, sweet crazed call of the blackbird; 

not as remembrance, grief for so many gone, 
nor either that other tangle of recall, regret   
for unredeemed wrongs, errors, omissions, 
petrified roots too deep to ever excise; 

a mingling rather, a melding, inextricable mesh   
of delight in astonishing being, of being in being, 
with a fear of and fear for I can barely think what, 
not non-existence, of self, loved ones, love; 

not even war, fuck war, sighing for war, 
sobbing for war, for no war, peace, surcease; 
more than all that, some ground-sound, ground-note,   
sown in us now, that swells in us, all of us,   

echo of love we had, have, for world, for our world, 
on which we seem finally mere swarm, mere deluge, 
mere matter self-altered to tumult, to noise, 
cacophonous blitz of destruction, despoilment, 

din from which every emotion henceforth emerges, 
and into which falters, slides, sinks, and subsides: 
sigh-sound of lament, of remorse; sob-sound of rue,   
of, still, always, ever sadder and sadder sad joy.

Note:  A recitation can be heard here.

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