Winner of the 1974 Emerson College Original Poetry Award
I have been told that by wish and will I fell from His sheep-
wool pocket into one dame's arms; and that was birth.
I have been told that angels bowl; heaven opens up when the
tenth pin rolls.
I have been told of cloud-grazing mares—
and twice it has rained cats and dogs.
I have been told that Saint Peter saw a vision.
I have been told that truth may be measured by the shade of
one's tongue or the length of one's nose—and twice I have
doubted my countenance.
I have been told when 'neath the cornered quilt that the sand-
man would alight and wave his sack of sleeping dust over my
last Hail Mary.
I have been told that woman is infamy; man sin. And I am the
issue of both.
I have been told to accept His rites and wrath.
Yet, I have heard over grace and gossip. from bible and book,
of womb-wrenching pain, of breached and blue-born, of
original sin; and that was birth.
I have heard of atmospheric pressure and tropical cyclones;
and that was Hurricane Ann.
I have heard that fishermen like their wine and all have
I have heard that the truth made Socrates stutter.
I have heard that some men never sleep.
I have heard that opposites attract (and gather ye rosebuds
while ye may)
I have heard that doubt is the stepping stone to knowledge,
and knowledge is the end of man.
I have heard too little of too much.
And still as green as County Cork, I have but fingered man's