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Motto Suitable for Embroidery


Failure is always partial:  every tense—

future or past or present—is an arc

only, not the full circle, which must work

elsewhere its recompense.


Glutted with weeping of dismantled snow,

streams run disheveled, yielding grace to force;

but bide the season, and each chastened course

remembers how to flow.


Not that all things, concentric for our sakes,

feed us with order, but that order comes

against, around and over us, and hums

while mending what it breaks.


I like believing this unlikely tale,

or should I say believe it out of need,

or need belief, wherever it may lead

or how I partly fail.


Rhina P. Espaillat



From Landscapes with Women: Four American Poets,
Singular Speech Press, © 1999.  Reprinted by permission
of the author.


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