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Night Thoughts Over A Sick Child Analysis

Author: Poetry of Philip Levine Type: Poetry Views: 216

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On The Edge1963Numb, stiff, broken by no sleep,I keep night watch. Looking forsigns to quiet fear, I creepcloser to his bed and hearhis breath come and go, holdingmy own as if my own wereall I paid. Nothing I bring,say, or do has meaning here.Outside, ice crusts on riverand pond; wild hare come to mydoor pacified by torture.No less ignorant than theyof what grips and why, I ammoved to prayer, the quaint gestureswhich ennoble beyond shameonly the mute listener.No one hears. A dry wind shiftsdry snow, indifferently;the roof, rotting beneath drifts,sighs and holds. Terrified bysleep, the child strives towardconsciousness and the known pain.If it were mine by one wordI would not save any man,myself or the universeat such cost: reality.Heir to an ancestral cursethough fallen from Judah's tree,I take up into my arms my hopes,my son, for what it's worth givebodily warmth. When he escapeshis heritage, then what haveI left but false remembranceand the name? Against that daythere is no armor or stance,only the frail dignityof surrender, which is allthat can separate me nowor then from the dumb beast's fall,unseen in the frozen snow.


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