Temporarily in Oxford

By Anne Stevenson b. 1933 Anne Stevenson
Where they will bury me
I don't know.
Many places might not be
sorry to store me.

The Midwest has right of origin.
Already it has welcomed my mother
to its flat sheets.

The English fens that bore me
have been close curiously often.
It seems I can't get away from
dampness and learning.

If I stay where I am
I could sleep in this educated earth.

But if they are kind, they'll burn me
and send me to Vermont.

I'd be an education for the trees
and would relish, really,
flaring into maple each October—
my scarlet letter to you.

Your stormy north is possible.
You will be there, engrossed in its peat.

It would be handy not
to have to cross the whole Atlantic
each time I wanted to
lift up the turf and slip in beside you.

Anne Stevenson, "Temporarily in Oxford" from Poems 1955-2005. Copyright © 2005 by Anne Stevenson. Reprinted with the permission of Bloodaxe Books Ltd. www.bloodaxebooks.com

Source: Poems 1955-2005 (Bloodaxe Books, 2005)

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Poet Anne Stevenson b. 1933


Subjects Nature, Living, Death, Landscapes & Pastorals

 Anne  Stevenson


Born in Cambridge, England, Anne Stevenson moved between the United States and the United Kingdom numerous times during the first half of her life. While she considers herself an American, Stevenson qualifies her status: “I belong to an America which no longer really exists.” Since 1962 she has lived mainly in the U.K., including Cambridge, Scotland, Oxford, and, most recently, North Wales and Durham.

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SUBJECT Nature, Living, Death, Landscapes & Pastorals


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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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