Lynn Strongin Poems




Desolation July 2 beginning to close in [Polio anniversary 55 years ago]


I'd rather wake in a Russian forest

rimmed with blue Siberian ice:

this is like a committee meeting at the end of the Soviet era, reading

Samizdat newspapers, under a bare yellow bulb. The fly whose feet

dipped in virus; barbed-wire birds of our time. These bitten-down poems

like sweaters unraveling.

Heat. Yellow electrical storm.

Groundhogs worked in Caissons

under Brooklyn

suffering the Bends before Bends were known: lit by fire from within.


in my sickroom struck from an incense ball

clouding radio, childhood's books, hall-telephone undialed by mother to

phone the pediatrician,  despite the agony, till dawn.

Take from me that window carry it in your arms: But don't

suffocate it Let it live. From birth, I have had an unquiet mind from birth

on: where only heaven & the nurse were & heavenly Slavic white-nights harm





Lynn Strongin was born in New York City and grew up in an artistic Russian Jewish home. She has won two PEN grants, one NEA grant, and recently had work nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She’s published twelve books, most recently The Sorrow Psalms: A book of Twentieth Century Elegy, from the University of Iowa Press.




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