Testing on Steel and Glass

By Carl Rakosi 1903–2004 Carl Rakosi
“If you open the brain
                                  from whence sprang Solomon and Aristotle   
and separate the lips
                                 in the fissure of Sylvius
a triangle of cortex
                               will appear.
This is the Island of Reil.”

Well put, anatomist.
                               We are all careful, men of earth   
(a blind man can sense a post).

Thus Newton pondered on falling apples
and a Mixtec carved a humanist in jaguar bone.

“How happy I was,”
                            wrote the scientist after a long illness,   
“when once again
                         I had something to investigate.”

Carl Rakosi, “Testing on Steel and Glass” from The Collected Poems of Carl Rakosi (Orono: The National Poetry Foundation, 1986). Used with the permission of Marilyn J. Kane.

Source: The Collected Poems of Carl Rakosi (National Poetry Foundation, 1986)

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Poet Carl Rakosi 1903–2004

SCHOOL / PERIOD Objectivist

Subjects Arts & Sciences, Sciences

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Carl  Rakosi


The son of German Jewish parents, Carl Rakosi was born in Berlin in 1903, moving soon to Hungary following his parents’ separation in 1904. Immigrating with his father and stepmother to Kenosha, Wisconsin, in 1910, he eventually graduated from the University of Wisconsin (where he edited the literary magazine) and later earned a master’s degree in social work from the University of Pennsylvania. Rakosi’s involvement in the . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Arts & Sciences, Sciences

SCHOOL / PERIOD Objectivist

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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