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Days of 1986

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Written by Carolyn Kizer

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 He was believed by his peers to be an important poet,
But his erotic obsession, condemned and strictly forbidden,
Compromised his standing, and led to his ruin.
Over sixty, and a father many times over, The objects of his attention grew younger and younger: He tried to corrupt the sons of his dearest friends; He pressed on them drinks and drugs, And of course he was caught and publicly shamed.
Was his death a suicide? No one is sure.
But that’s not the whole story; it’s too sordid to tell.
Besides, the memory of his poems deserves better.
Though we were unable to look at them for a time His poems survive his death.
There he appears as his finest self: Attractive, scholarly, dedicated to love.
At last we can read him again, putting aside The brute facts of his outer life, And rejoice at the inner voice, so lofty and pure.


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