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More poems by Galway KinnellGalway Kinnell | Print this page.Print | View and Write CommentsComments | Books by Galway KinnellBooks by Galway Kinnell

The Correspondence School Instructor Says Goodbye To His Poetry Students

Galway Kinnell

Goodbye, lady in Bangor, who sent me
snapshots of yourself, after definitely hinting
you were beautiful; goodbye,
Miami Beach urologist, who enclosed plain
brown envelopes for the return of your very
Clinical Sonnet; goodbye, manufacturer
of brassieres on the Coast, whose eclogues
give the fullest treatment in literature yet
to the sagging-breast motif; goodbye, you in San Quentin,
who wrote, "Being German my hero is Hitler,"
instead of "Sincerely yours," at the end of long,
neat-scripted letter demolishing
the pre-Raphaelites:

I swear to you, it was just my way
of cheering myself up, as I licked
the stamped, self-addressed envelopes,
the game I had
of trying to guess which one of you, this time,
had poisoned his glue.  I did care.
I did read each poem entire.
I did say what I thought was the truth
in the mildest words I know.  And now,
in this poem, or chopped prose, not any better,
I realize, than those troubled lines
I kept sending back to you,
I have to say I am relieved it is over:
at the end I could feel only pity
for that urge toward more life
your poems kept smothering in words, the smell
of which, days later, would tingle
in your nostrils as new, God-given impulses
to write.

Goodbye,
you who are, for me, the postmarks again
of shattered towns-Xenia, Burnt Cabins, Hornell-
their loneliness
given away in poems, only their solitude kept.


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Added: 5 May 2003 | Last Read: 18 Oct 2018 7:11 AM | Viewed: 6180 times

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URL: http://plagiarist.com/poetry/9041/ | Viewed on 18 October 2018.
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