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Of Politics & Art Analysis

Author: poem of Norman Dubie Type: poem Views: 8

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                                               for Allen

Here, on the farthest point of the peninsula

The winter storm

Off the Atlantic shook the schoolhouse.

Mrs. Whitimore, dying

Of tuberculosis, said it would be after dark

Before the snowplow and bus would reach us.

She read to us from Melville.

How in an almost calamitous moment

Of sea hunting

Some men in an open boat suddenly found themselves

At the still and protected center

Of a great herd of whales

Where all the females floated on their sides

While their young nursed there. The cold frightened whalers

Just stared into what they allowed

Was the ecstatic lapidary pond of a nursing cow's

One visible eyeball.

And they were at peace with themselves.

Today I listened to a woman say

That Melville might

Be taught in the next decade. Another woman asked, "And why not?"

The first responded, "Because there are

No women in his one novel."

And Mrs. Whitimore was now reading from the Psalms.

Coughing into her handkerchief. Snow above the windows.

There was a blue light on her face, breasts, and arms.

Sometimes a whole civilization can be dying

Peacefully in one young woman, in a small heated room

With thirty children

Rapt, confident and listening to the pure

God-rendering voice of a storm.


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