Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


Revisionary

The globe on a tilted axis means The News.
As the icon spins the angle seems to shift.

Science has found ancestral Neanderthals.
We have a bit of their blood. They painted caves
Better than sapiens, as we named ourselves.

History has found the Jews who fought for Hitler.
Thousands of Part and what were called Full Jews.
A few were generals.

                                      As the globe revolves

Different mixes keep passing into the light
Or into the dark, and then back out again:
The unexpected, over and over again.

Jefferson’s July 2 draft blamed George III
For violating the liberty of “a People
Who never offended him” shipped off to be
“Slaves in another hemisphere.” For many
“Miserable death in transportation thither.”
On the Fourth of July, that passage was left out. Thither.

In draft after draft of Puddn’head Wilson Twain
Linked and tore apart stories: The conjoined twins
From Italy come to town. In that same town, two
Blue-eyed babies. The nursemaid fair-skinned Roxy
Secretly swops the babies cradle to cradle,
Different nightie to nightie and fate to fate.
The one is her son. He sells her down the river.

Credit


Copyright © 2022 by Robert Pinsky. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on February 10, 2022, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem


“‘Revisionary’ tries to understand the truth about how truth evolves or devolves . . . and, maybe, sometimes emerges to survive.”
Robert Pinsky

Author


Robert Pinsky

The author of several collections of poetry, Robert Pinsky won the 1997 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize for his book The Figured Wheel: New and Collected Poems 1966-1996

Date Published: 2022-02-10

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/revisionary