Poetry Friday – Dear George Eliot


I’ve been re-reading Middlemarch for the fourth or fifth time–it’s never too many times–and so I cannot resist posting this poem for Poetry Friday.  I don’t know anything else by this author, but this poem has been with me for decades, after I first read it in The New Yorker.

                                           DEAR GEORGE ELIOT

But for that wind banging
overhead in the dark–a sound
as of all the angry slogans in the world
at last gathered into the gale
that blows away walls and rains
rads into cellar holes–but for that
reminder, I could be reading
“Middlemarch” over again
by the warm stove, contented enough
(an eldering, well-wedded man)
to remember and be remembered…

Time was I could not have conceived–
any more than Dorothea and Will
could skip to a motel in Scituate
and unwrite a thousand pages
of honor and obligation–conceived
there could be such an elder, brain-
sick for a wayward thing
in her twenties–to parasitize
on that passionate oblivion!–as,
hearing the ominous wind pound
on the clapboards and knowing
no help for it–flinging the book down–
I remain.
                              —Peter Kane Dufault


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