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?
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.