Lynn Strongin


THAT CURSIVE learned half a century ago in Oklahoma
Each “D” looped, the large hand, into sprawl, but stretch of the “Lov”
Both for my name & for love.
Painterly inclined
Am not in the saddle with this one
Being a Jew in the wrong town.
But then isn’t the Jew always in the wrong town?
Citizenship, township, belonging, those dream cards reflected in silver slivers 
               of mirror snow falling?
          It crusts Osip Mandelstam’s snow boots
          As for Akhmatova, her cursive is tight: she throws back her head, her 
               blond head, breaking into a sad laugh while frost tips her eyelashes 
               eternally at some Russian train station, poems clutched in heart, in hand.
OLGA KORBUT WAS LONG AGO but my Russian guywire is now. Osip   made an impression of genius
Like Tyutchev, he believed. “The mind cannot grasp Russia. Take your Russian desire & 
               bright cheeks elsewhere, your brilliant mind."
His conceptual dazzlements can make Shakespeare look simple.
Too much religious piety can stifle like layers of blankets
Makes one want to blow raspberries.
“Whoso list to hunt, I know where is an hind” (Sir Thomas Wyatt)
Desperate, near hysteria over hunting that mystical hind
Osip turned from the ghetto until near-blind:
          Now tell me about refuge, about genius:
          He is he downtrodden, the most brilliant, least-loved among us. 

I AM not incarcerated
Will not be
My hand in Osip’s
Osip, it was devastatingly easy to forecast that you would die.
Like you I am near my full ripening
But in a bruised world:
Look at those against us
Look at the color of damaged plum
Inisde the boxcars where you are hunkering: look at all you hold in your hand
          While sister & I realize we were abused children
          The memory box clasped, the darkness falling over it different from the darkness of snow, 
               of deer escaping storm, of storm lowering fast, of the bird asleep in the palm: 
               feathered inspiration to the end.
THAT SCRIPT learned half a century ago. . .
What will we do without our sleep?
Darkness but cruel heat
What will we do without our sheep?
Eleven days to winter
How will I be kind to her?

On & on
My vintner,
Ladle dipped for over forty years in daily living
          Quicken the stream:
          Look to the rising sun, my Mississippi, the violets in Mason jar resting on 
               the Bible, that Gothic print restorying, revivifying even love & its letdowns.


A Pulitzer Prize nominee several years ago for SPECTRAL FREEDOM, Lynn Strongin has been nominated five times for the Pushcart Prize, and this year for the Lambda Award. Received an NEA creative writing grant in New Mexico in the seventies. Studied with Denise Levertov, Robert Duncan, and others.

Strongin’s work has been featured recently in UK’s "Poetry Kit" as well as winning second poetry prize in ART4US, in DC, for "Flowers Swallowing Bees." Mike Maggio said of it: "This poem uses language and imagery in new and fresh ways. Language flows across the page almost like the bees it evokes. . ." She has been featured in Brett Alan Sander’s blog with her cycles "A Wondrous Thing" and "Saturday Afternoon Taffetas." Her forthcoming chapbook, SLOW DARK FILM, will be published by Right Hand Pointing.
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