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The Bitter, True Taste of the Human Heart

July 16, 2010

by Alex Cigale

After Samuel Beckett

I once knew a madman who thought the end
of the world had come. I would visit him
at the asylum, take him by the hand
and drag him to the window.
Corn rising,
and look there, the sails of the herring fleet.
What loveliness!
He’d snatch away his hand
and back into a corner, appalled. All
he saw was ashes, he alone was spared,
His case is not unusual.
There can be no ideas that do not seem
to us to represent objects.
Perfection of mankind, God’s idea.
I am confident that the human mind
can know nothing with greater certainty.

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Alex Cigale’s poems recently appeared in The Cafe, Colorado, Global City, Green Mountains, and North American reviews, Gargoyle, Hanging Loose, Redactions, Tar River Poetry, 32 Poems, and Zoland Poetry, online in Contrary, Drunken Boat, H_ngm_n, McSweeney’s, and are forthcoming in Many Mountains Moving and St. Petersburg Review. His translations from the Russian can be found in Crossing Centuries: the New Generation in Russian Poetry, in The Manhattan, St. Ann’s, and Yellow Medicine reviews, online in OffCourse, Danse Macabre and Fiera Lingue, and forthcoming in Crab Creek Review and Modern Poetry in Translation. He was born in Chernovsty, Ukraine and lives in New York City.

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  1. July 16, 2010 at 1:56 pm

    A great deal to think about in those few words. Excellent post.

  2. Roberta Burnett
    March 22, 2011 at 12:24 am

    I read the poem and felt it. I listened to it and felt something else. The breathless, soundless moments held another meaning. I was glad to hear and to read.

  1. April 12, 2011 at 3:06 pm
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