from Epigrams: A Journal, #8

By J. V. Cunningham 1911–1985
If wisdom, as it seems it is,
Be the recovery of some bliss
From the conditions of disaster—
Terror the servant, man the master—
It does not follow we should seek
Crises to prove ourselves unweak.
Much of our lives, God knows, is error,
But who will trifle with unrest?
These fools who would solicit terror,
Obsessed with being unobsessed;
Professionals of experience
Who have disasters to withstand them
As if fear never had unmanned them,
Flaunt a presumptuous innocence.

I have preferred indifference.

J. V. Cunningham, 8. from “Epigrams: A Journal”; from The Exclusions of a Rhyme: Poems and Epigrams. Copyright © 1960 by J. V. Cunningham. Reprinted with the permission of Ohio University Press/Swallow Press, Athens, Ohio.

Source: The Exclusions of a Rhyme: Poems and Epigrams (Ohio University Press, 1960)

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Poet J. V. Cunningham 1911–1985

Subjects Life Choices

Poetic Terms Epigram

Biography

J. V. Cunningham, poet, critic, editor, and general man of letters, gained the high regard of his literary colleagues for his concise, witty, epigrammatic poetry. In a 1961 study, The Poetry of J. V. Cunningham, his mentor Yvor Winters called him "the most consistently distinguished poet writing in English today, and one of the finest in the language." About the same time, Thom Gunn wrote in a Yale Review article on The . . .

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SUBJECT Life Choices

Poetic Terms Epigram

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