Molly Peacock, Cornucopia: New and Selected Poems 1975-2002 (New York: W. W. Norton, 2002): 160.
1Hold up the universe, good girl. Hold up
2the tent that is the sky of your world at which
3you are the narrow center pole, good girl. Rup-
4ture is the enemy. Keep all whole. The itch
5to be yourself, plump and bending, below a sky
6unending, held up by God forever
7is denied by you as Central Control. Sever
9recumbent below the sky. Nothing falls down,
10except you, luscious and limited on the ground.
11Holding everything up, always on your own,
12creates a loneliness so profound
13you are nothing but a column, good girl,
14a temple ruin against a sky held up
15by forces beyond you. Let yourself curl
16up: a fleshy foetal figure cupped
17about its own vibrant soul. You are
18the universe about its pole. God's not far.
8] Atlas: "one of the older family of gods, who was supposed to hold up the pillars of the universe, and also of the mountain in Libya that was regarded as supporting the heavens" (OED). "Atlesse": supposed feminine and diminutive form of "Atlas." Back to Line
Take Heart (1989)
RPO poem Editors:
Copyright 2002 Molly Peacock: Cornucopia W. W. Norton. Permission to reproduce must be obtained from the publisher.