Today's poem is by Robert Pinsky
What is the origin of this despair I feel
When I feel
I've lost my grip, can't manage a thing?
That means a clutch of contending voices
So my voice:
When my mongrel palate, tongue, teeth, breath
Out the noise thing I become host and guest
Angles, Picts, Romans, Celts, Norsemen,
Pincers of English the conquered embrace.
Of the woman who strangled her sister one night,
Moaning with the body held in her arms.
Of the pliers I squeeze hard squeeze its jaws
And my jaw
Clenches unwilled: brain helplessly implicated
Filaments of muscle and nerve. In the enveloping
Grip of its evolution
Chambered in the skull, it cannot tell the tool
From the toiler
Primate who plies it. Purposeless despair
The ape to its grapples, restless to devise.
In the vise-
Grip Discontent, the grasper's bent.
Copyright © 2006 Robert Pinsky All rights reserved
from First Things to Hand
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission
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