by Len Krisak (April 2016)

Sometimes a yearning for surrender comes—

                     A hunger for defeat

                                 That’s pleased with crumbs

         And longs for bitter crow to eat.


Sometimes that appetite goes unappeased

                     By pie, however humble.

                                 Sometimes it’s eased

         A bit, but then we cave and crumble,


Craving humiliation fit to swallow,

                     Starving for abasement

                                 We pray will follow

         The giving in to our effacement.


Then comes the day that always comes, when we

                     Have gulped down all we will.

                                 Then we shall see:

         If we have truly had our fill    


Of ceding everything, each precious bit

                     That made us what we are;

                                 If this is it;

         If all our yielding’s gone too far,


And we have lost that craven appetite

                     And now will take no more,

                                 But stand and fight

         The terrible, the needful, war.




Len Krisak has published in The London Magazine, The Oxonian Review, PN Review, Standpoint, Agni, The Antioch Review, The Sewanee Review, The Hudson ReviewThe Dark Horse, Agenda, The Hopkins ReviewCommonweal, Literary Imagination, The Oxford Book of Poems on Classical Mythology, and others. His latest book is Virgil’s Eclogues, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2010. Forthcoming: The Carmina of Catullus, Carcanet Press, 2015, Afterimage, Measure Press, 2014, Rilke: New Poems, Boydell & Brewer, 2015 and Ovid: The Amores and The Ars Amatoria, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2014.



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