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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)

  • Social Commentaries

Poet Bio

Linda Gregg
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. See More By This Poet

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