for Henry Adams
Effort for distraction grew
Ferocious and paced, that was its exercise.
Effort for distraction strained,
Legged in the hour-like single stretch
Its heels and sight to feel, so slit its eyes.
Effort without effort or with
Greatest possible effort always centered
Back in the concentrated trough where lies
The magnet to the filings,
The saw tooth to the tongue,
The turn of life to a returning life.
By all the traction of mind and spin of spirit
Having gained grasp gasped to bear it,
Having got ground groaned, furious title holder.
Paced and cried, so sore for a different direction, grew
Unkind to strength that gave it strength to grow.
Josephine Miles, “Effort for Distraction” from Collected Poems. Copyright � 1983 by Josephine Miles. Reprinted with the permission of the University of Illinois Press.
Source: Collected Poems 1930-83