Salvation

By Stephen Dunn b. 1939 Stephen Dunn
Finally, I gave up on obeisance,
and refused to welcome
either retribution or the tease

of sunny days. As for the can’t-be-
seen, the sum-of-all-details,
the One—oh, when it came

to salvation I was only sure
I needed to be spared
someone else’s version of it.

The small prayers I devised
had in them the hard sounds
of split and frost.

I wanted them to speak
as if it made sense to speak
to what isn’t there

in the beaconless dark.
I wanted them to startle
by how little they asked.

Source: Poetry (November 2005).

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This poem originally appeared in the November 2005 issue of Poetry magazine

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November 2005
 Stephen  Dunn

Biography

Poet Stephen Dunn was born in 1939 in New York City. The first of his family to go to college, Dunn attended Hofstra University on a basketball scholarship and later worked in advertising. In an interview with Poets and Writers, Dunn discussed the leap from being an ad-man to poet: “My first job out of college was writing in-house brochures for Nabisco in New York, and I kept getting promoted. I was in danger, literally, of . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Religion, Faith & Doubt, Living

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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