“I am the last . . .”

By Charles Simic b. 1938 Charles Simic
I am the last Napoleonic soldier. It’s almost two hundred years later and I am still retreating from Moscow. The road is lined with white birch trees and the mud comes up to my knees. The one-eyed woman wants to sell me a chicken, and I don’t even have any clothes on.      
       The Germans are going one way; I am going the other. The Russians are going still another way and waving good-by. I have a ceremonial saber. I use it to cut my hair, which is four feet long.

“I am the last . . .” from The World Doesn't End: Prose Poems, copyright © 1987 by Charles Simic, reprinted by permission of Harcourt, Inc. This material may not be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means with the prior written permission of the publisher.

Source: The World Doesn't End: Prose Poems (Harcourt Inc., 1987)

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Poet Charles Simic b. 1938

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Subjects War & Conflict, Arts & Sciences, History & Politics, Social Commentaries, Humor & Satire

Poetic Terms Prose Poem, Persona

 Charles  Simic

Biography

Charles Simic is widely recognized as one of the most visceral and unique poets writing today. Simic’s work has won numerous awards, among them the 1990 Pulitzer Prize, the MacArthur Foundation “genius grant,” the Griffin International Poetry Prize, and, simultaneously, the Wallace Stevens Award and appointment as U.S. Poet Laureate. He taught English and creative writing for over thirty years at the University of New Hampshire. . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT War & Conflict, Arts & Sciences, History & Politics, Social Commentaries, Humor & Satire

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Poetic Terms Prose Poem, Persona

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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