At Cross Purposes

By Samuel Menashe 1925–2011 Samuel Menashe
      1
Is this writing mine
Whose name is this
Did I underline
What I was to miss?

      2
An upheaval of leaves
Enlightens the tree
Rooted it receives   
Gusts on a spree

      3
Beauty makes me sad
Makes me grieve
I see what I must leave

      4
Scaffold, gallows
Do whose will
Who hallows wood
To build, kill

      5
Blind man, anvil
No hammer strikes
Your eyes are spikes

Samuel Menashe, “At Cross Purposes” from Samuel Menashe: New and Selected Poems, edited by Christopher Ricks, published by The Library of America, 2005. Copyright © 2004 by Samuel Menashe. Used by permission of the author.


Source: Samuel Menashe: New and Selected Poems (The Library of America, 2005)

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Poet Samuel Menashe 1925–2011

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Subjects Arts & Sciences

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

 Samuel  Menashe

Biography

Samuel Menashe earned acclaim as the creator of numerous compact and precise poems. His first American volume, No Jerusalem But This, was praised by Stephen Spender for "language intense and clear as diamonds." Spender declared that Menashe "can compress an attitude to life that has an immense history into three lines."

To Open, Menashe's 1974 collection, impressed Christian Science Monitor critic Victor Howes with its . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Arts & Sciences

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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