Self-Portrait at Twenty

By Gregory Orr b. 1947 Gregory Orr
I stood inside myself
like a dead tree or a tower.
I pulled the rope
of braided hair
and high above me
a bell of leaves tolled.

Because my hand
stabbed its brother,
I said: Make it stone.

Because my tongue
spoke harshly, I said:
Make it dust.
                   And yet
it was not death, but
her body in its green dress
I longed for. That’s why
I stood for days in the field
until the grass turned black
and the rain came.

Source: The Caged Owl (Copper Canyon Press, 2002)

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Poet Gregory Orr b. 1947

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Subjects Relationships, Love

 Gregory  Orr

Biography

The author of more than 10 collections of poetry and several volumes of essays, criticism, and memoir, Gregory Orr is a master of the short, personal lyric. His poetry has been widely anthologized and translated into at least 10 languages. Observes critic Hank Lazer, “From Burning the Empty Nests (1973) to the present, Orr gradually developed the ability to fuse his incredible skill at visual precision—the signature of his . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Relationships, Love

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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