By Linda Gregg
It was a picture I had after the war.
A bombed English church. I was too young
to know the word English or war,
but I knew the picture.
The ruined city still seemed noble.
The cathedral with its roof blown off
was not less godly. The church was the same
plus rain and sky. Birds flew in and out
of the holes God’s fist made in the walls.
All our desire for love or children
is treated like rags by the enemy.
I knew so much and sang anyway.
Like a bird who will sing until
it is brought down. When they take
away the trees, the child picks up a stick
and says, this is a tree, this the house
and the family. As we might. Through a door
of what had been a house, into the field
of rubble, walks a single lamb, tilting
its head, curious, unafraid, hungry.
Linda Gregg, “The Lamb” from Chosen By the Lion. Copyright © 1994 by Linda Gregg. Reprinted with the permission of Graywolf Press, St. Paul, Minnesota, www.graywolfpress.org.
Source: Chosen by the Lion (Graywolf Press, 1994)
Born in New York, poet Linda Gregg was raised in Marin County, California. She earned both a BA and an MA from San Francisco State University. Gregg taught at the University of Iowa, the University of California-Berkeley, and Princeton University. She lived in New York until her death in early 2019. Gregg’s lyrical poetry is often admired for its ability to discuss grief, desire, and longing with electrifying craftsmanship and poise.
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