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American poetry

The Poetry of Abraham Lincoln

Not far from where I live in east central Illinois, the father of Abraham Lincoln lies buried. Though I've lived out here in this open land for more than two decades, I had not visited Thomas Lincoln's grave until last year, after my father died. He is buried in the east where I'm from, and I guess I needed a nearby place to mourn. Or maybe I just missed my father that fall day I stopped by tiny Shiloh Cemetery to stand where Abraham Lincoln once stood. That great man knew words and how to say them, and I began to imagine his voice as he lowered his head and whispered.


The Little Town

I walk for a long time. These mountains are soft, and these valleys. Suddenly the skin of a mountain moves, and it becomes a valley. It's been raining here. New streams trickle through underbrush, among blue wildflowers, and butterflies as blue as [...]


Driving to the airport, we pass the equestrian
statue in the park: the plumed general
on his narrow plinth. It's not easy