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Sarah Arvio – Ⅱ






Hadn’t I already learned my lessons,

by now didn’t I know what I should know

for living a life? If only I had


learned what I should have or maybe unlearned

what I should never have known, if only

I had forgotten, lapsus, lull—limbo


between knowing and never having known,

though never knowing meant being new.

Laconic scholia of learned life,


undulating from newness to knownness.

There was no new lily, little person,

no new lily in the emperor’s pond,


though the lilies kept budding and bursting.

There was no new life in the library,

except for my own, lurking there alone,


late or too late, as all the lessons were;

because the life-hour never came again,

“never to this life would it come again.”


There was the island of the emperor

that lay inside the lily-padded pond,

there were the rest of us lilliputians


puttering near the limen of our god,

articulating and annotating.

Island, island, O pupil of the pond,


don’t tell me the emperor wasn’t god:

god might be a cloud or an emperor

and even god couldn’t begin again.