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J A N U A R Y   1 9 9 7

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THE LITANY OF DISPARAGEMENT

by Dick Allen


Hear Dick Allen read this poem (in RealAudio):

RA 28.8, RA 14.4

(For help, see a note about the audio.)

Also by Dick Allen:
Memo From the Desk of Wallace Stevens (1996)
The Report (1990)

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I drove, but I didn't turn.
I spoke, but I didn't learn.
I warmed, but I didn't burn.
Pray for me now and then.

Cards held too close to my chest,
I loved the roads running west,
Old shoes and a leather vest.
Pray for me now and then.

I never reached my floodmark.
The dog is a distant bark.
The tunnel whirls in the dark.
Pray for me now and then.

The nurse bends low over me.
With hands and skeleton key,
She opens Death's mystery.
Pray for me now and then.

Pray, for the willows must shake.
Ripples must die in the lake.
I am the life I forsake.
Pray for me now and then.




Copyright © 1997 by The Atlantic Monthly Company. All rights reserved.
The Atlantic Monthly; January 1997; The Litany of Disparagement; Volume 279, No. 1; page 46.

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