Small Kingdom

By Samuel Menashe 1925–2011 Samuel Menashe
In their doorways women sit sewing
By the good light of afternoon
And nothing is beyond knowing
Though the sun shall go down soon

A shepherdess near a bramble ditch
And the Princess in the Alcazar
Keep the same precise stitch
And they both can see far

And when the knell tolls
All are wondering who—
If it is a lady, many bells
For a beggar, one will do

Samuel Menashe, “Small Kingdom” from Samuel Menashe: New and Selected Poems, edited by Christopher Ricks, published by The Library of America, 2005. Copyright © 2004 by Samuel Menashe. Used by permission of the author.

Source: Samuel Menashe: New and Selected Poems (The Library of America, 2005)

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Poet Samuel Menashe 1925–2011

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Subjects Class, History & Politics, Social Commentaries

 Samuel  Menashe

Biography

Samuel Menashe earned acclaim as the creator of numerous compact and precise poems. His first American volume, No Jerusalem But This, was praised by Stephen Spender for "language intense and clear as diamonds." Spender declared that Menashe "can compress an attitude to life that has an immense history into three lines."

To Open, Menashe's 1974 collection, impressed Christian Science Monitor critic Victor Howes with its . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Class, History & Politics, Social Commentaries

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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