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Fall 2003, Volume 21.1



C. J. SagePhoto of C. J. Sage.

C. J. Sage is the editor of The National Poetry Review and the editor of the poetry anthology And We The Creatures (Dream Horse Press, 2003). Her poems have appeared in numerous publications, including Verse Daily, The Threepenny Review, and Smartish Pace.  See more work by C. J. Sage at:  or


Birth Ghazal

I want to say before I die: my heart is clear; my hands, reborn.
To feel, before sleep, the drums of hooves against the night;
the wild horse and its gallop, the perfection of its untouched neck,
the rise of dust clouds, the bristling of bones, the flight reborn.

There is a hole in the world through which things come and go,
come and go; there is this hole through which things pass.
Last night I saw a whippoorwill soar in through it, screaming,
and this morning drift back out again like romance, not reborn.

A red-winged blackbird has fallen from the sky with the rain.
A red-winged blackbird has floated in the rain and has lived.
As I am I am nothing and everything I was, erased.
A woman who died of disaffection flew away, and was reborn.

I was once a wall of flowers tumbling down, a room of red, red poppies;
people spoke to me in breaking blossom talk, in stems and petals.
Now, Here is a cave of oyster shells, someone says, There is a field of deer.
Tell me, Sage, this someone says, into which will you be reborn?



The fundamental condition of our existence is to revolve.
         —The Mevlevi

Oh yes the blooms, we are the blooms;
we curl with night and stretch toward day,

too small to challenge sleep, too tall
to leave for long the gold-robed songs of reeds.

The dance, the drunken spinning dance,
never stops. Always it turns us round

as to remind us what is here, what is here,
what is here. Always it does not lie, it is true;

until we rive we are the blossoms, this is true,
until we fail against the wind we are the blooms.


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