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Poems by Richard Kenney
The One-Strand River
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A Pot of Tea

by Richard Kenney

Loose leaves in a metal ball
Or men in a shark cage steeping,
Ideas stain the limpid mind
Even while itís sleeping:

Ginseng or the scent of lymph
Or consequences queasing
Into wide awareness, whence,
Like an engine seizing

Society remits a shudder
Showing it has feeling,
And the divers all have shaving cuts
And the futureís in Darjeeling—

Blind, the brain stem bumps the bars
Of the shark cage, meanwhile, feeding,
And the tea ballís cracked, its leaves cast
To catastrophic reading:

Ideas are too dangerous.
My love adjusts an earring.
I take her in my arms again
And think of Hermann GŲring,

And all liquidities in which
A stain attracts an eating,
And of my countryís changing heart,
And hell, where the blood is sleeting.

Audio Clip
April 23, 2008
New York Public Library, Mulberry Branch
From the Academy Audio Archive

From The One-Strand River by Richard Kenney. Copyright © 2008 by Richard Kenney. Reprinted by permission of Alfred A. Knopf. All rights reserved.
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