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"Why Publish?"


Dusty and brown on some forgotten shelf

a century hence—or two, let dreams be grand!—

this wry and slanted gloss upon myself

has slipped into some stranger's browsing hand.

A woman, maybe, growing old like me,

or a young man ambitious for his name,

curious about my antique prosody

but pleased to find our motives much the same.

He cannot know—nor she—what this one life

from the late twentieth craved, or cost, or found;

he will forget my name; but mother, wife,

daughter, has struck a chord, sings from the ground

a moment to his ear, as now to yours,

for what is ours in common and endures.


                                            Rhina P. Espaillat



From Where Horizons Go, New Odyssey Press,

© 1998.  Reprinted by permission of the author.

Background by Lewis Eaton

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