Tally

By Josephine Miles 1911–1985 Josephine Miles
After her pills the girl slept and counted
Pellet on pellet the regress of life.
Dead to the world, the world's count yet counted
Pellet on pill the antinomies of life.

Refused to turn, the way's back, she counted
Her several stones across the mire of life.
And stones away and sticks away she counted
To keep herself out of the country of life.

Lost tally. How the sheep return to home
Is the story she will retrieve
And the only story believe
Of one and one the sheep returning home

To take the shapes of life,
Coming and being counted.

Josephine Miles, “Tally” 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

POET’S REGION U.S., Western

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 Josephine  Miles

Biography

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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POET’S REGION U.S., Western

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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