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When they taught me that what mattered most was not the strict iambic line goose-stepping over the page )

This is a poem that I read in the SAT II Literature test in October.  I remembered certain aspects and phrases, but hadn't been able to find it until very recently.

I really like some of the images and some of the phrases.

ananzi: (man between trees)
Mysterious mother-substance, who are they
That flout the earth that made them?
Who are they
Who waste their wonder on the fabulous soul?
I can but choose to marvel at the clay.

This clay, this dream sown sod, this chemic earth,
This wizard dust, wherein all shapes of birth--
Soft flowers, great beasts, and huge pathetic kings--
Small shapes of wonder, fill a needle's girth.

This clay, this haunted house of sight and sound,
Strange sunny rooms, that airily resound
With phantom music played for phantom feet--
And hark, a rat is gnawing underground.

This clay, so strong of heart, of sense so fine--
Surely this clay is more than half divine!
'Tis only fools speak evil of the clay--
The very stars are made of clay like mine.


- from the Rubaiyat, Omar Khayyam, translated by Richard le Gallienne

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Emily

December 2016

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