The Sympathizers

By Josephine Miles 1911–1985 Josephine Miles
To this man, to his boned shoulders
Came the descent of pain.
All kinds,
Cruel, blind, dear, horrid, hallowed,
Rained, again, again.

To this small white blind boned face,
Wherever it was,
The blows of pain, it took as it were blinded,
As it were made for this.

We were there. We uneasy
Did not know if it were.
Knew neither
The reason nor the man nor whether
To share, or to beware.

Josephine Miles, “The Sympathizers” from Collected Poems. Copyright � 1983 by Josephine Miles. Reprinted with the permission of the University of Illinois Press.

Source: Collected Poems 1930-83 (1983)

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Poet Josephine Miles 1911–1985


Subjects Health & Illness, Living, Social Commentaries

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Josephine  Miles


Lifelong California resident Josephine Miles distinguished herself as an educator, spending her entire academic career at the University of California, Berkeley, where she was the first woman to be tenured in the English department. She is remembered as the editor of anthologies and critical texts, as an author of books on poetic style and language, and as an award-winning poet who produced over a dozen books of poems. Her . . .

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SUBJECT Health & Illness, Living, Social Commentaries


Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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