Friend of the Enemy

By Frank Stanford 1948–1978 Frank Stanford
The yolk went down my leg
Like a beautiful snail without a shell,
Went down the hill
To the skillet of water, to the nymphflies,
Into the lips of pond minnows,
Down the long belly of the gar – the hellbenders
Having dived and lost, then into
The paw of the lame panther
Who loped back to her lair with it.
As for the white, it stayed with me,
Mark of the beast, birth, and trade.

Estate of Frank Stanford © C.D. Wright

Source: Last Panther in the Ozarks (Unpublished Collection, )

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Poet Frank Stanford 1948–1978

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

Subjects Relationships, Friends & Enemies, Nature, Animals

Poetic Terms Free Verse


Born in 1948, Stanford was a prolific poet known for his originality and ingenuity. He has been dubbed “a swamprat Rimbaud” by Lorenzo Thomas and “one of the great voices of death” by Franz Wright. He grew up in Mississippi, Tennessee, and then Arkansas, where he lived for most of his life and wrote many of his most powerful poems. He attended the University of Arkansas from 1967-9 and studied engineering while continuing to . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Relationships, Friends & Enemies, Nature, Animals

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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