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Single Vision

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Written by Stanley Kunitz

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 Before I am completely shriven
I shall reject my inch of heaven.
Cancel my eyes, and, standing, sink Into my deepest self; there drink Memory down.
The banner of My blood, unfurled, will not be love, Only the pity and the pride Of it, pinned to my open side.
When I have utterly refined The composition of my mind, Shaped language of my marrow till Its forms are instant to my will, Suffered the leaf of my heart to fall Under the wind, and, stripping all The tender blanket from my bone, Rise like a skeleton in the sun, I shall have risen to disown The good mortality I won.
Drectly risen with the stain Of life upon my crested brain, Which I shall shake against my ghost To frighten him, when I am lost.
Gladly as any poison, yield My halved conscience, brightly peeled; Infect him, since we live but once, With the unused evil in my bones.
I'll shed the tear of souls, the true Sweat, Blake's intellectual dew, Before I am resigned to slip A dusty finger on my lip.


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