The New Compass: A Critical Review

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David Leightty

The Hurt
"...the following-up of a wounded tiger on foot
is a task that is sought by none and dreaded by all."
—Jim Corbett*
It's in here, blent in tangled dense terrain—
More dangerous for the wound's gut-sullen pain—
Unseen while I stand in this open space
Numb for the stark encounter, face to face,
With what I neither see nor can avert.
No help. Go in alone, track down the hurt.

*The author gratefully acknowledges Oxford University Press India, for permission to reprint for the passage from The Temple Tiger by Jim Corbett.

Two Rejoinders
"Soft found a way to damn me undefended:
I was forgiven who had not offended."
—J.V. Cunningham*
One Time

Such mild reproof: I stand forever riven:
I did offend, and now go unforgiven.

Another Time

To bear a pardon, innocent, is hard;
But worse: to be reviled for bald canard.

*The author gratefully acknowledges Ohio University Press/Swallow Press, for permission to quote the epigram by J.V. Cunningham, from The Poems of J.V. Cunningham (Athens, OH: Swallow Press, 1997).

On Nixon’s Funeral
The baby boomer reflects
Outrage; the shrill, self-righteous—thus the theme
That seized our time, driving us to the streets
Of dissidence, to heckle rude blasphemes
Against your dirty tricks, wars, and deceits.

Our long contention rests with you in state,
An enmity complete. So lie in grace;
Elect or not, now you are with that great
Silent majority we’ll all embrace.

The Fault
a brain-tumor patient
The organ of his thought
Enfolds the end of will
Proving an inmost fault—
Intrinsic in warmth, chill.

Explanation in Three Parts

I. Unfazed by utter disregard,
A sideshow plies a busy street.
And moi? Ignored by the ignored,
Vaguely I apprehend defeat.

II. Let’s introduce the gagman here:
Poet who rates most poems bull;
Weirdo calling the weirdoes weird;
The margin of the marginal.

III. A double whammy; but I’m here,
Dead serious, irked, unresigned.
I seem so solemn? So austere?
I choose the presence of the mind.

Leightty, David. "Poems." The New Compass: A Critical Review 4 (December 2004) []

For more information contact the editors:
Michael John DiSanto and Sarah Emsley