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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.


Mr. Eliot's Sunday Morning Service

Look, look, master, here comes two religious caterpillars.
Jew of Malta

The sapient sutlers of the Lord
Drift across the window-panes.
In the beginning was the Word.           

In the beginning was the Word.                  
Superfetation of τό ἔν
And at the mensual turn of time          
Produced enervate Origen.      

A painter of the Umbrian school         
Designed upon a gesso ground                  
The nimbus of the Baptized God.        
The wilderness is cracked and browned           

But through the water pale and thin     
Still shine the unoffending feet           
And there above the painter set                   
The Father and the Paraclete.

          .    .    .    .    .    .

The sable presbyters approach
The avenue of penitence;        
The young are red and pustular          
Clutching piaculative pence.            

Under the penitential gates      
Sustained by staring Seraphim
Where the souls of the devout  
Burn invisible and dim.           

Along the garden-wall the bees                   
With hairy bellies pass between
The staminate and pistilate,      
Blest office of the epicene.      

Sweeney shifts from ham to ham         
Stirring the water in his bath.           
The masters of the subtle schools        
Are controversial, polymath.   

T. S. Eliot

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