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THE AFFECT OF ELMS

by Reginald Gibbons


Hear Reginald Gibbons read this poem (in RealAudio):

RA 28.8, RA 14.4

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Also by Reginald Gibbons:
Kiss (1997)



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Across the narrow street from the old hotel that now
houses human damage temporarily --
deranged, debilitated, but up and around in their odd
postures, taking their meds, or maybe trading them --

is the little park, once a neighboring mansion's side yard,
where beautiful huge old elm trees, long in that place,
stand in a close group over the mown green lawn
watered and well kept by the city, their shapes expressive:

the affect of elms is of struggle upward and survival,
of strength -- despite past grief (the bowed languorous arches)
and torment (limbs in the last stopped attitude of writhing) --

while under them wander the deformed and tentative
persons, accompanied by voices, counting their footsteps,
exhaling the very breath the trees breathe in.




Copyright © 1990 by Reginald Gibbons. All rights reserved.
The Atlantic Monthly; June 1990; Gethsemane; Volume 265, No. 6; page 89.

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