Gyroscope

By Howard Nemerov 1920–1991 Howard Nemerov
This admirable gadget, when it is
Wound on a string and spun with steady force,   
Maintains its balance on most any smooth
Surface, pleasantly humming as it goes.
It is whirled not on a constant course, but still   
Stands in unshivering integrity
For quite some time, meaning nothing perhaps   
But being something agreeable to watch,   
A silver nearly silence gleaning a still-
ness out of speed, composing unity   
From spin, so that its hollow spaces seem   
Solids of light, until it wobbles and   
Begins to whine, and then with an odd lunge   
Eccentric and reckless, it skids away   
And drops dead into its own skeleton.

Howard Nemerov, “Gyroscope” from The Collected Poems of Howard Nemerov (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1977). Copyright © 1977 by Howard Nemerov. Reprinted with the permission of Margaret Nemerov.

Source: The Collected Poems of Howard Nemerov (The University of Chicago Press, 1977)

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Poet Howard Nemerov 1920–1991

Poetic Terms Sonnet, Blank Verse

 Howard  Nemerov

Biography

Howard Nemerov was a highly acclaimed poet often cited for the range of his capabilities and subject matter, "from the profound to the poignant to the comic," James Billington remarked in his frequently quoted announcement of Nemerov's appointment to the post of United States poet laureate. A distinguished professor at Washington University in St. Louis from 1969 to 1990, Nemerov wrote poetry and fiction that managed to engage . . .

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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