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If only he could watch his teacher read

and, gazing, could lean there at his desk

in the winter light of Hillcrest Public School

and listen as she speaks the strangest words—

with her vivid face, her braided hair

and dark eyes like a real and ordinary

siren’s—if only he could wait like that

forever while Miss Harmon reads The Odyssey

(his kind young teacher with the ringing voice

he loves so much he lets the story sing

into his heart), she would peal out for him,

swaying above him like a slender bell,

the breaking changes of a life to come.

The Poet at Seven

James Pollock

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translated from the Polish written by
Tomasz Różycki