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Two SonnetsAnne Carson
Close
Close

Sonnet of Addressing Gertrude Stein

Here is a pronoun to
address
Gertrude
Stein
with
:
dog
you’ve
never
had
before
has
died.

Drop’t Sonnet

When a language drops a distinction (as e.g. English
has modified the 2nd person singular so that I can no longer express the wish,
Tell me spirit! whither wander’st thou? or split a king in two
saying, If thou beest not immortal, look about you!)
there is a lowering of arms,
a thinning of air inside the whole system,
a sadness in the sparrows,
a slipping away of prefixes and wisdom,
’las for alas,
’less for unless,
’pale for impale,
’unsist for unresisting,
and whether is one syllable
and needle rhymes with kneel
(yet I confess not till I met you did I begin to feel

this change as a loss. There was something about the laundry chute down which we tumbled – this
   mineshaft,
      cataract,
          toboggan slide (waterslide, landslide),
          plummet,
              sheer descent,
                     amnesia drop,
                     vertical dive,
                             this fast rainpipe,
                                 this precipitance,
                                    this parachute,
                             this headlong fall,
                             this
                             streaming
                             downspout of voodoo pine –
                             that cried out to be addressed
                             as
                             thine).

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