Today's poem is by Robert King

From the Book of Rope

First, there is love. Secondly,
the square knot, a perfect binding
of two equal loops, useful

for fastening gifts to each other
or, in the extreme, for closing bandages
over wounds, expected or not.

The sheet bend hooks unequal partners,
originally a rope to the twisted end
of a sail, something fastened against wind.

The bowline's loop won't close, good
for saving yourself in mountain climbing,
or, in general, being lifted up, lowered.

Hitches bind us to things, thwarting
our drift, boat to tree, a horse to any rail—
two half hitches, hundreds of half hitches.

In the book of rope, three tests
for every knot—is it easy to tie?
Will it stay tied firmly in use,

and will it be, finally, easy to untie?
Which knot have we chosen?
And what else sadly should we know?

Copyright © 2002, 2003 Robert King All rights reserved
from The Missouri Review
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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