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(November 19, 1942 / San Francisco)

Quotations

  • ''... to a poet, the human community is like the community of birds to a bird, singing to each other. Love is one of the reasons we are singing to one another, love of language itself, love of sound, love of singing itself, and love of the other birds.''
    Sharon Olds (b. 1942), U.S. poet. As quoted in Listen to Their Voices, ch. 18 (1993). On why writing poetry, though "always difficult," is easier than not writing it.
    22 person liked.
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  • ''The symmetrical piles of white bodies,
    the round white breast-shapes of the heaps,
    the smell of the smoke, the dogs the wires the
    rope the hunger. It had happened to others.
    There was a word for us. I was: a Jew.''
    Sharon Olds (b. 1942), U.S. Jewish poet. "That Year," lines 24-28 (1980). On seeing, in social studies class, photographs from Auschwitz, a Nazi concentration camp located in Poland, where more than one million Jews were killed during World War II.

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One Year

When I got to his marker, I sat on it,
like sitting on the edge of someone's bed
and I rubbed the smooth, speckled granite.
I took some tears from my jaw and neck
and started to wash a corner of his stone.
Then a black and amber ant
ran out onto the granite, and off it,
and another ant hauled a dead
ant onto the stone, leaving it, and not coming back.

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