Friday, November 13, 2015

from "Testimony: The United States (1885-1890), Recitative," by Charles Reznikoff



It was nearly daylight when she gave birth to the child,
lying on the quilt
he had doubled up for her.
He put the child on his left arm
and took it out of the room,
and she could hear the splashing of water.
When he came back
she asked him where the child was.
He replied: “Out there—in the water.”

He punched up the fire
and returned with an armload of wood
and the child,
and put the dead child into the fire.
She said: “O John, don’t!”
He did not reply
but turned to her and smiled.

Source of the text – Charles Reznikoff, Testimony: The United States (1885-1915): Recitative, edited by Eliot Weinberger. Jaffrey, NH: Black Sparrow Press, 2015, p. 14.  This poem is from Part 1. Testimony: The United States (1885-1890), Recitative, “The South.”

TJB: The horror, the horror. With tone & diction unlike any other poet, Reznikoff calmly, steadily relates an unspeakable atrocity. I’d convict—

No comments:

Post a Comment

About Me

Blog Archive