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Prayer

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If I were in a book it would be the book
in which some lesser angel bemoans
the state of my soul

and is comforted for it
and is corrected for it

by some greater angel who knows
as the reader knows that it is not one’s soul
that suffers the indignities of ignobility:
the inability to curb the petty smallness
of spirit, ungladness in the company
of bureaucrats, anger’s decay,

in the sense that my soul itself cannot be
harmed nor tarnished though it can witness
my sorrow on finding that illness alters me
from the self I thought I’d more or less known.

What can one do about one’s nature?
I look at the spider that’s finally
restrung its great wheel away from the door.

I’d like to close the door, go away,
leaving the spider be.
I’d like to preclude the possibility
of angel, as of prey.


Source: Poetry (July/August 2011)
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Prayer

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  • Liz Waldner grew up in rural Mississippi and earned a BA in mathematics and philosophy at St. John’s College and an MFA at the Iowa Writer’s Workshop. Her first book of poetry, Homing Devices (1998), came after an 18-year silence; since then, Waldner has published prolifically. Her recent books include A Point Is That Which Has No Part (2000), which won both the Iowa Poetry Prize and the James Laughlin Award, Self and Simulacra (2001), Dark Would (the missing person) (2002), Trust (2009), and Play (2009).
     
    Waldner’s work is known for its formal experimentation, reliance on quotation and pastiche, and often playful rhyme schemes. Using long titles, made-up words, and expansive proselike sentences that change topic quickly and constantly, Waldner’s verse, according to poet-critic Stephen Burt, “pays constant homage to the delights of the senses; beside her, most similarly difficult present-day poets seem arid, theoretical, no fun.”

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