Late Results

By Scott Cairns b. 1954 Scott Cairns

We wanted to confess our sins but there were no takers.
—Milosz

And the few willing to listen demanded that we confess on television.   
So we kept our sins to ourselves, and they became less troubling.

The halt and the lame arranged to have their hips replaced.
Lepers coated their sores with a neutral foundation, avoided strong light.

The hungry ate at grand buffets and grew huge, though they remained hungry.
Prisoners became indistinguishable from the few who visited them.

Widows remarried and became strangers to their kin.
The orphans finally grew up and learned to fend for themselves.

Even the prophets suspected they were mad, and kept their mouths shut.
Only the poor—who are with us always—only they continued in the hope.


Scott Cairns, “Late Results” from Philokalia: New and Selected Poems. Copyright © 2002 by Scott Cairns. Reprinted with the permission of Zoo Press.

Source: Philokalia: New and Selected Poems (Zoo Press, 2002)

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Poet Scott Cairns b. 1954

Subjects Family & Ancestors, Religion, Living, Disappointment & Failure, Faith & Doubt, Relationships

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Scott  Cairns

Biography

Scott Cairns was born in Tacoma, Washington. He received his B.A. from Western Washington University, his M.A. from Hollins College, an M.F.A. from Bowling Green State University, and his Ph.D. from the University of Utah. Cairns has taught at numerous universities including University of North Texas, Old Dominion University, and the University of Missouri. He was awarded a Guggenheim fellowship in 2006.

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SUBJECT Family & Ancestors, Religion, Living, Disappointment & Failure, Faith & Doubt, Relationships

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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