in their repertory

Cosmic? Perhaps. Unprecedented? Not
to the old women sitting in the sun,
the old men planted in cafes till noon
or midnight taking in the human scene,
connoisseurs of past-passing-and-to-come.
These watchers locate in their repertory
mythic fragments of some kindred story
and draw them dripping out of memory’s well.

– from Rachel Hadas’s poem “The Chorus.” I can’t believe I didn’t know it existed until now. The whole thing is online here. This, incidentally, came for a search for an appropriate Oscar-night poem: Ella Wheeler Wilcox’s preachy “The Actor” was the worst of what I waded through first.


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