Oh, I Was a One

Oh, I Was a One

by MARCIA KARP

Oh, I was a one who, had I but been there,
would have, I would have done, done all that doing
that would have been needed to be done.

Oh, I would have, I tell you, been the one to say –
No!, to do – the right and the noble.
Clean hands, oh, clean heart in my doing the deeds
for the land, for the folk, for the highest of reason.

Oh, I I I I, had I only been there.

Now here there’s a wolf crying Wolf!,
sounding all about. Still, I raise no axe,
I raise no horn, I raise no cry to shout the chaos out.

Oh, how can I ever be face to my face again now,
knowing what I know I know about me?

from Issue 4

MARCIA KARP has poems and translations in The TLS; The Guardian; Agenda; Literary Imagination; Harvard Review; Partisan Review; Oxford Magazine; The Warwick Review; Catullus in English and Petrarch in English (Penguin Books); Joining Music with Reason: 34 Poets, British and American, Oxford 2004-2009 (Waywiser); and The Word Exchange: Anglo-Saxon Poems in Translation (Norton). Her collection, If by Song, is due in 2021 from Lily Poetry Review Books.

3 Replies to “Oh, I Was a One”

  1. I’ve just seen your question.

    It was finished, I thought, fall 2017, (begun sometime earlier), but not given its correct title until the next summer.

    Thank you for asking. Can you share with me what prompted your question? I’d love to know.

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