READING HISTORY A YEAR AT A TIME



Lord Byron died the very year
that sperm were proved,
beyond all doubt, to be
essential to fertilization.
No more virgin births. That year
Beethoven's Choral Symphony
astounded the air. He was guided
gently to face the audience
that rose in an ovation
he couldn't hear. Tears
were everywhere. Who remembers
  1. L. Prevost or J.B. Dumas
or knows how they unraveled
the mystery of sperm? That same year
workers finished the Erie Canal
and Simon Bolivar was proclaimed
Emperor of Peru. The canal workers
didn't know or care about Peru
nor did they hear the "Ode to Joy."
My great-great grandmother was born
that year, to later travel the length
of the canal. Three hundred million
sperm swim up the birth canal.
A few thousand reach the oviduct.
The ovum chooses one (on rare
occasions more). Then, as usual,
life went on. Joseph Aspdin developed
Portland Cement while the U.S.
House elected John Quincy Adams when
The voters couldn't make up their minds.


Joan McIntosh
from Greatest Hits: 1975-2000.
Pudding House Publications
The impulses that make a fool
or worse of us in certain circumstances
may be necessary for our happiness.
~ Gertrude Atherton
More Poems
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Spring/At Great Pond
Earth, Your Dancing Place
Angels
In Blackwater Woods
In the Library
Clear as Mud
Mockingbirds
Pinup
Sabbaths 2001
Center
Morning Poem
Aunt Leaf
The Peace of Wild Things
An Observation
The Calf-Path
Sometimes, I Am Startled...
The Visitation
Wings
Praise Song
Putting in a Window
Monet Refuses the Operation
A Blessing
Making a Living
The Poetry Bus
Homemaking
Old Woman in a Housecoat
Soundings
My Father's Lunch
Lightening the Load
Thoughts in a Garden
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WELCOME!
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Wild Card
Appeal to the Grammarians
Bread Soup
Explaining Relativity to a Cat
In Praise of Craziness
Martha
Pastoral
Thus Spake the Mockingbird
Trust
Undelivered Mail
Winter Is the Best Time
Surprises
Reading History
Radiator
Song of the Open Road
I Chop Some Parsley
Cowboy Poetry
DIURNAL
walking
To the Man in a Loden Coat
Fermanagh Cave
Highway Five Love Poem
School Day Afternoon
Late for Summer Weather
Quilts
So Much Happiness
Employed
Te Deum
The Testing-Tree
Vacuuming Spiders
Six Significant Landscapes
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Reconsidering the Seven
They'll
Miscellaneous Poetry