Of Fools

Marcia Karp

I saw it that way from the couch—
the many-masted ship of ivy in the bottle of the world
with sprays of laurel rising behind—
as we argued the message of luck come to me,
for fortune had tost, this time, her waves my way.

Jealousy overwhelmed your staunchness,
then you overcounted the bounty.
And I, in pride of my quickness,
heaved the lead
and cried the soundings just ahead.

This extravagant season will unbound the wandering ivy.
A Jacko’all is on his way to cut the shrubs back and deft.
While we, knowing mainly one thing between us,
have already submerged luck’s call to me and won’t speak
of it—
though we storm about the known and unknowing world—
ere acrimony end.

Marcia Karp

Marcia Karp’s poems and translations have appeared in Oxford Magazine, the Times Literary Supplement, the Warwick Review, Ploughshares, Harvard Review, Agenda, Literary Imagination, Seneca Review, the Guardian, the Republic of Letters, and Partisan Review. Her work is also included in the anthologies: Penguin Books’ Catullus in English and Petrarch in English, Joining Music with Reason: 34 Poets, British and American, Oxford 2004–2009 (Waywiser, 2010), and The Word Exchange: Anglo-Saxon Poems in Translation (Norton, 2010).


I saw it that way from the couch— the many-masted ship of ivy in the bottle of the world with sprays of laurel rising behind— as we argued the message of luck come to me, for fortune had tost, this time, her waves my way. Jealousy overwhelmed your staunchness, then you overcounted the bounty. And …

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