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Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2005 09:36 pm

People’s poetry

Edited by Corrine Frisch

In this poem, which describes a shameful memory, Robert Clarke uses a haiku sequence. The reader might overlook the form because in good poems the form is servant to the idea, providing it an invisible framework. While not strictly haiku — there is no mention of nature or the season — the small vignettes work well in telling a poignant story.
Touring Lisboa, Elephant man sits begging. I pass by. Shameful.
His face haunts me still. Was I so poor? Not one cent. Dis-ease fouls my soul.
I sought him in vain. Euros aplenty to soothe me. Self-serving pity.
Had I but loved him, I seek his face in strangers, Yearning forgiveness.
— Robert Clarke
Robert Clarke is Interim Dean of the Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Springfield.
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