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On Reading a Biography

Among the best
are those who were the worst,
whose lives mirrored nothing of their words,
nothing of their canvasses or lyres:
 
Wagner’s cerulean notes
against his selfish treachery;
Gauguin’s desertion;
Wordsworth’s betrayal for
“a riband to stick in his coat.”
 
And particularly there has been
this shuffling bear
with the humorous twinkle,
this Westerner
who spoke New England,
this egoistic, petulant toddler,
this composer of exquisite verse,
who pulled doves, lovely and white,
from rumpled, spotted hats.
 
Among the best
are those who were the worst,
whose lives mirrored nothing of their words,
nothing of their canvasses or lyres:
 
Wagner’s cerulean notes
against his selfish treachery;
Gauguin’s desertion;
Wordsworth’s betrayal for
“a riband to stick in his coat.”
 
And particularly there has been
this shuffling bear
with the humorous twinkle,
this Westerner
who spoke New England,
this egoistic, petulant toddler,
this composer of exquisite verse,
who pulled doves, lovely and white,
from rumpled, spotted hats.

(2009)

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