Psalm

By George Oppen 1908–1984 George Oppen

Veritas sequitur ...

In the small beauty of the forest
The wild deer bedding down—
That they are there!

                              Their eyes
Effortless, the soft lips
Nuzzle and the alien small teeth
Tear at the grass

                              The roots of it
Dangle from their mouths
Scattering earth in the strange woods.
They who are there.

                              Their paths
Nibbled thru the fields, the leaves that shade them
Hang in the distances
Of sun

                              The small nouns
Crying faith
In this in which the wild deer   
Startle, and stare out.

“Psalm” by George Oppen, from New Collected Poems, copyright © 1975 by George Oppen. Reprinted by permission of New Directions Publishing Corporation.

Source: Poetry (July 1963).

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This poem originally appeared in the July 1963 issue of Poetry magazine

July 1963
 George  Oppen

Biography

"George Oppen," wrote Michael Adams in The Dictionary of Literary Biography, "had one of the most unusual careers of any American poet." Oppen was one of the chief exponents of Objectivism, a school of poetry that emphasized simplicity and clarity over formal structure and rhyme. He established the movement with William Carlos Williams, Louis Zukosfky, and other poets in the early 1930s. In 1932 Oppen helped found the . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Nature, Animals

SCHOOL / PERIOD Objectivist

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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