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, a prominent American poet, was one of the chief exponents of Objectivism, a school of poetry that emphasized simplicity and clarity over formal structure and rhyme. Born in 1908 to a wealth family and expelled from a high school military academy, Oppen and his wife Mary travelled across the country, finding work wherever they could, until he received a small inheritance at 21. With these funds, the couple moved to . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Nature, Animals

SCHOOL / PERIOD Objectivist

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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