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And So the Skin . . .

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And so their pounded hearts
were worn—
                                       like a badge
                  or talisman,
that canceled   
almost all their blindness—

creation's linkage depending
                                    on a drive itself
         derived from a kind of kindness
or desperation, the sense that one's
inadequate,
                                    at any rate

the space for time—

water has it, flowing   
(even from a faucet . . .)
and here the black swan glides across it—

as the sunlight's suddenly on my back,
and now the skin along it's warmer,
Lord,   
                  which lets me walk by the river . . .

Source: Poetry (June 2008)

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This poem originally appeared in the June 2008 issue of Poetry magazine

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And So the Skin . . .

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  • Poet and translator Peter Cole was born in Paterson, New Jersey. His collections of poetry include Hymns & Qualms (1998), Rift (1989), What Is Doubled: Poems 1981-1998 (2005), and Things on Which I’ve Stumbled (2008). With Adina Hoffman, he wrote the nonfiction collection Sacred Trash: The Lost and Found World of the Cairo Geniza (2011). Described by Harold Bloom as a “major poet-translator,” Cole has translated important writers in Hebrew and Arabic, including Aharon Shabtai and Taha Muhammad. His anthology, The Dream of the Poem: Hebrew Poetry from Muslim and Christian Spain, 950–1492 (2007), was heralded as a new classic. He also edited The Poetry of the Kabbalah: Mystical Verse from the Jewish Tradition (2012).
     
    Cole’s many honors and awards include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation, and a genius grant from the MacArthur Foundation. He is the recipient of a National...

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