By Calvin Thomas Jr. Calvin Thomas
The quick-sliding cape of mind
Drags wrinkled on a dusty floor,
A party dress,
Sagging from those shoulders
      of a smile
      that stalks through crooked time
             followed by a goat
             nipping the petticoat.
Scape-goat, grin out loud.
Make the cloak a shroud.
      He whinnys through the nose,
             paws the trailing hem
             and strikes a fawning pose.

Tight-clamped, the clasp of tin
Tears cloth it won’t undo.
Before the gown slips down.
A rent . . . which lets the darkness through.

Calvin Thomas, Jr., "Insanity" from The Golden Goose #3 (June 1949). Copyright © 1949 by Calvin Thomas, Jr..  Reprinted by permission of Calvin Thomas, Jr..

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Poet Calvin Thomas Jr.

Subjects Health & Illness, Living


Calvin Thomas Jr. was a promising young poet at Yale when, during the summer of his sophomore year, he attended John Crowe Ransom’s summer school at Kenyon College. There he met influential New Critics like Allen Tate, Mark Shorer, and Yvor Winters, who would later become a mentor. He graduated from Yale in 1951, joined the Air Force, and was sent to Germany. His story “The Comeback,” which sprang from his experience . . .

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SUBJECT Health & Illness, Living

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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