"The Vise"

"The Vise"

"The Vise"

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A weekly poem, read by the author.
Feb. 8 2005 7:14 AM

"The Vise"

Listen to Mary Baine Campbell reading this poem.

The head is held
In a vise of gold.
Whatever wind may
Whip my face
I can look only
One way.

It is not
That the world is unkind.
Kind hands once touched
My lips and eyes
To say whatever such
Touches say.


And every day
A spoon, laden
With softer gold
Of honey
Forces me.

From all directions
Lightning tells us
What is lost
Or burnt
In the collapsing

Tonight, a monsoon.
The diamond-fall of rain
Bruises my face
Washes honey
From it, and
All else.

But in the vise
I can still stare—
Through brilliant
Obliterations of storm—
At what is
Still there.

Mary Baine Campbell is professor of English at Brandeis University. Her latest book of poetry is called Trouble.