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Slant by Stephen Dunn

One of my favourite poems by Dunn, and one that I fall in love with, each time I read it.

Stephen Dunn

Yesterday, for a long while,
the early morning sunlight
in the trees was sufficient,
replaced by a hello
from a long-limbed woman
pedaling her bike,
whereupon the wind came up,
dispersing the mosquitoes.
Blessings, all.
I’d come so far, it seemed,
happily looking for so little.

But then I saw a cow in a room
looking at the painting of a cow
in a field — all of which
was a painting itself —
and I felt I’d been invited
into the actual, someplace
between the real and the real.

The trees, now, are trees
I’m seeing myself seeing.
I’ll always deny that I kissed her.
I was just whispering into her mouth.

This is from Loosestrife by Stephen Dunn, published by W. W. Norton & Company, 1998.

Comments (1)

  • “I’ll always deny that I kissed her.
    I was just whispering into her mouth.”

    Oh, Stephen Dunn. Why do you hit it on the head every time?

    It must be something in the air. I just wrote a post about Stephen Dunn. Maybe this hurricane is churning up a Dunn magnetism. Do you feel, like me, that there is a certain feeling or psychology that attracts you to Dunn exactly when you need him?… That his poems may fill a space in you that you don’t have the words to express?

    Thanks for sharing. You’ve gained another reader: I was won over by your “About” essay.


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