Believe It

By John Logan 1923–1987 John Logan
There is a two-headed goat, a four-winged chicken   
and a sad lamb with seven legs
whose complicated little life was spent in Hopland,   
California. I saw the man with doubled eyes
who seemed to watch in me my doubts about my spirit.   
Will it snag upon this aging flesh?

There is a strawberry that grew
out of a carrot plant, a blade
of grass that lanced through a thick rock,
a cornstalk nineteen-feet-two-inches tall grown by George   
Osborne of Silome, Arkansas.
There is something grotesque growing in me I cannot tell.

It has been waxing, burgeoning, for a long time.
It weighs me down like the chains of the man of Lahore   
who began collecting links on his naked body
until he crawled around the town carrying the last   
thirteen years of his life six-hundred-seventy pounds.   
Each link or each lump in me is an offense against love.

I want my own lit candle lamp buried in my skull   
like the Lighthouse Man of Chungking,
who could lead the travelers home.
Well, I am still a traveler and I don’t know where   
I live. If my home is here, inside my breast,
light it up! And I will invite you in as my first guest.

NOTES: for Tina Logan
After visiting the Believe It or Not Museum with her in San Francisco—1980

John Logan, “Believe It” from John Logan: The Collected Poems. Copyright © 1989 by The Estate of John Logan. Reprinted with the permission of BOA Editions, Ltd.,

Source: The Collected Poems (BOA Editions Ltd., 1989)

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Poet John Logan 1923–1987

Subjects Midlife, Nature, Relationships, Living, The Body

Poetic Terms Free Verse


The late John Logan "was considered one of the superb lyrical poets of his generation," his publisher A. Poulin, Jr., told the Los Angeles Times. "He referred to poetry as a ballet for the ear." Logan, who was also the founder-editor of the poetry magazine Choice, is remembered as the inventor of what poet Hayden Carruth, writing in the American Book Review, once termed "postacademic academic poetry." Carruth explained the term . . .

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SUBJECT Midlife, Nature, Relationships, Living, The Body

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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