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  4. from Articles of War, Section V by John Barr
from Articles of War, Section V

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I stare down into waterburn.
This urge to enter what we see.
Unrefracted tropical sun
with its whole arm
works deeply the ocean interior.

Water and light in union
make a third thing—color as fluid
deepened endlessly.
Into the quarry of aquamarine,
high-walled with light, the mind high dives.

My fingers cleave watersilk.
I breathe heavy light.
The big cavitation of the props
gone by, my struggling stops, my slowed

descent, in diminishing light,
gains the country where the shark
is eagle, fish the fishermen, and men
no more than stones along the road.

John Barr, "from Articles of War, section V" from The Hundred Fathom Curve: New & Collected Poems. Copyright © 2011 by John Barr. Reprinted by permission of Red Hen Press.
Source: The Hundred Fathom Curve: New & Collected Poems (Red Hen Press, 2011)
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from Articles of War, Section V

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  • John Barr served as the first president of the Poetry Foundation from 2004 to 2013, where he worked with the board to develop the Foundation's strategic plan and to build a permanent home for Poetry magazine, the first in its 100-year history. He has taught in the graduate writing program of Sarah Lawrence College and has served on the boards of the Poetry Society of America, Yaddo, and Bennington College.

    Barr grew up in Lisle, Illinois and earned a BA in English from Harvard University on an ROTC scholarship. After serving in the Navy for five years during the Vietnam War, he returned to Harvard Business School to earn an MBA. Barr's poems have appeared in many magazines and journals, and his books of poetry include The Hundred Fathom Curve (1997)—expanded and updated as The Hundred Fathom Curve: New & Collected Poems (2011)—and the mock-epic Grace: Book One of the Adventures of Ibn Opcit (1999, 2013) and Opcit at Large: Book...

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