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Lament of the Maker


What wonders I've performed, with leaping mind,

imagining the fruit while eyeing the seed,

conjuring what's ahead while still behind,

savoring praises for the undone deed.


I have esteemed my skill so highly that

I stroll through mansions I have yet to build

and, like the seigneur or the plutocrat,

reap harvests from rich fields I have not tilled.


But when I face the drudgery of art,

bright mirrors where misunderstandings lurk,

my faltering strength just when the need is great,

I faint before the task—or rashly start,

push through to make an end, survey my work,

and smile—how fine, how small, how light in weight!


Jan Schreiber



© 2000; originally printed in Pivot.  Reprinted by
permission of the author.


Graphics by Background Bank

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