The Lie

By Howard Moss 1922–1987 Howard Moss
Some bloodied sea-bird’s hovering decay
Assails us where we lie, and lie
To make that symbol go away,
To mock the true north of the eye.
But lie to me, lie next to me;
The world is an infirmity.

Too much of sun’s been said, too much
Of sea, and of the lover’s touch,
Whole volumes that old men debauch.
But we, at the sea’s edge curled,
Hurl back their bloody world.
Lie to me, like next to me,

For there is nothing here to see
But the mirrors of ourselves, the day,
Clear with the odors of the sea.
Lie to me. And lie to me.

Howard Moss, “The Lie” from New Selected Poems, published by Atheneum. Copyright © 1985 by Howard Moss. Reprinted by permission of Estate of Howard Moss.

Source: New Selected Poems (Atheneum Publishers, 1985)

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Poet Howard Moss 1922–1987

Subjects Relationships, Nature, Seas, Rivers, & Streams

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 Howard  Moss


Howard Moss was the poetry editor of the New Yorker for almost forty years. In that influential capacity, this quiet, unassuming man was one of the key figures in American letters in the late twentieth century, boosting the careers of many young poets by publishing their work in one of the few mass circulation magazines which bought poetry and paid well for it. Writing in World Literature Today, Ashley Brown observed that "it . . .

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SUBJECT Relationships, Nature, Seas, Rivers, & Streams

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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