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Feathers

Publishing poetry in the U.S.A., a cynic said,

“must be like dropping a feather over the Grand Canyon

and waiting for the echo.”* I'd say it both is and isn’t!

The echo's immediate in your brain,

no matter whether America heard it, or didn't.

Drop all the feathers you like—there’s tons of room down there,

even if you alone may care

and they come floating up again in the great Canyon's heated air.

Keep in mind, you’re in this for yourself,

and not to get your hands on worldly echoed wealth.

No need for false modesty or pointless stealth.

No poet’s truer born than one who wants no fame.


*Cited by Seamus Heaney, letter to John L. Sweeney, October 3, 1966.

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