Rita Dove


Lines Composed On The Body Politic

Less than the charting of each dawn's resolutions,
less than each evening's trickle of doubt,
less than a crown's weight in silver, a diamond's
scratch against glass, less than the touted

ill luck of my rich beginnings—and yet
more than Eve's silence, my mute ingratitude.
More than music's safe passage, its rapturous net,
more than this stockpile of words, their liquid solicitude;

more desired than praise (the least-prized of my dreams),
less real than dreaming (castle keep for my sins),
more than no more, which seems
much less than hoped-for, again—
one mutiny, quelled; one wish lost, a forgotten treasure:
to live without scrutiny, beyond constant measure.
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