Lucifer Alone

By Josephine Miles 1911–1985 Josephine Miles
One rat across the floor and quick to floor's a breeze,
But two a whisper of a human tongue.
One is a breath, two voice;
And one a dream, but more are dreamed too long.

Two are the portent which we may believe at length,
And two the tribe we recognize as true.
Two are the total, they saying and they saying,
So we must ponder what we are to do.

For every scuttle of motion in the corner of the eye
Some thought of thought is asked in us indeed,
But of two, more: there we have likeness moving,
And there knowledge therefore, and therefore creed.

Josephine Miles, “Lucifer Alone” 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


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 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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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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