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My Book

January 25, 2013

A Poem by Troy Jollimore

People rarely blog to influence, or even to be read, but to own the thought by writing it down. According to John Locke, the homesteader doesn’t own his land when the bureaucrat allocates it – he has to clear, fence and dig it first. You don’t take a thought, or a poem, away from anyone else when you make it your own, but you still need to mix in your labour. Troy Jollimore is a philosopher, as well as a poet, so he knows all this.

My Book appeared in the New Yorker on 17 Dec 2012, and I typed it out  here this morning.

My Book

I bought a copy, but it wasn’t mine.
I stole a copy. Still it felt somehow
as if it did not yet belong to me.
As if I did not yet belong to it.
So I sat down to write it. As the sun
put on the moon’s pale skin and shed its own,
my fingers made my pen push glossy ink
across the page. Out in the fields, the cows
sang ancient songs of mourning and of mating,
while in the boxes that contained the humans
the humans sat before their boxes. Still
I wrote, and though I did not comprehend
even an insubstantial fragment of
what that blood-thick black ink was aying, what
I knew was that when it was done I’d have
grown older, the grimy globe would have grown older,
and on my shel would sit my book, the shrunken
governor of an antique Chinese province,
surveying all that came within his purview,
including me, and passing judgment on it.

Troy Jollimore

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