By Paul Engle

The legacy of poet Paul Engle, who died in 1991, contains the overseas Writing application on the college of Iowa, which he helped present in 1967, and the memoir A fortunate American youth. Engle grew up in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, through the Nineteen Twenties on a hardscrabble farm the place his family members struggled to make ends meet. now not inevitably the conventional education flooring for a poet and educator, yet Engle reveals in his formative years the uncooked fabrics that formed him not just as a poet yet as an individual to boot.

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We had a long row of peonies at the edge of our backyard (for reasons I do not understand, Mother called them "pinees"). She went to look at them every day from the middle of May, for each year we had the same questionWill the pinees Page 14 bloom by Decoration Day? We always waited until the morning of Decoration Day (now called Memorial Day) to cut them, so that, wrapped in wet cloths, they would last longer when put on the graves of the Reinheimer grandparents, Grandma Engle, and little Paul Reinheimer, Eva's brother, for whom I was named.

I can't move mountains, but I can make light. Quick centuries ago I knew this place, Lazarus looking with his ghost-gray face. I envy the skilled sculptor, working alone, Who puts his passion in the passionless stone. The past is my bandage wrapped around today. The bleeding wound of everything I say. I walk on yesterday's white winter meadow Snow casts no shadow falling on my shadow. I tilt my turning past until it bends. Broken-down windmills soon become my friends. Fast at the best, impulsive at the worst, I drop my second shoe before the first.

If people are bitter against our government, they have a way of getting rid of it short of violence: at the next election they can simply throw it out on the street (although with fat pensions).  Without them people are only pathetic parodies, creatures wearing trousers, shirts, and a sorrowful facesave when they are ordered to smile. For many, many years the people of this country could largely ignore other countries, so far away, so little affecting us.  Who knows the Page xv fearful world in which your children will live, if they do live?

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