"Gods in Exile"

A weekly poem, read by the author.
Dec. 7 2004 6:44 AM

"Gods in Exile"

Listen to James Longenbach reading this poem. One grew into a pear tree, Bearing fruit. Another, dissatisfied

With created things,
Withdrew: chameleon
Blending with the branch. Climbing

Their stairs, I saw complete
What they'd seen
Rising: a dome
An intelligence
Hovering above the streets

To cover us all.
Highways, strip malls.
Hercules lifting Antaeus

Pelvis to pelvis,
Earth to earth.

One became a sparrow,
Joined the flock.
When his singing aroused
Suspicion, he exchanged his voice

For a peacock's,
The solitary
Darkness of God.

One became a river.
One raised sheep.

James Longenbach's most recent collection of poems is The Iron Key. Graywolf will publish a new prose book, The Virtues of Poetry, next year.

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