Figure

By Josephine Miles 1911–1985 Josephine Miles
A poem I keep forgetting to write
Is about the stars,
How I see them in their order
Even without the chair and bear and the sisters,
In their astronomic presence of great space,
And how beyond and behind my eyes they are moving,
Exploding to spirals under extremest pressure.
Having not mathematics, my head
Bursts with anguish of not understanding.

The poem I forget to write is bursting fragments
Of a tortured victim, far from me
In his galaxy of minds bent upon him,
In the oblivion of his headline status
Crumpled and exploding as incomparable
As a star, yet present in its light.
I forget to write.

Josephine Miles, “Figure” from Collected Poems: 1930-83. Copyright © 1983 by Josephine Miles. Used by permission of University of Illinois Press.

Source: Collected Poems: 1930-83 (University of Illinois Press, 1983)

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Poet Josephine Miles 1911–1985

POET’S REGION U.S., Western

Subjects Nature, Stars, Planets, Heavens

 Josephine  Miles

Biography

Lifelong California resident Josephine Miles distinguished herself as an educator, spending her entire academic career at the University of California, Berkeley, where she was the first woman to be tenured in the English department. She is remembered as the editor of anthologies and critical texts, as an author of books on poetic style and language, and as an award-winning poet who produced over a dozen books of poems. Her . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Nature, Stars, Planets, Heavens

POET’S REGION U.S., Western

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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