Phillis Levin

As It Happens
September 5, 2015 Levin Phillis

As It Happens


As it happens, there was nothing left, so much to do, a plethora
Of urgencies, an unguent unglued.

As it happens, everyone who wanted something had nothing to gain,
Nothing to lose, given the plenitude, given the remorse.

As it happens, somersaults on the grass were not prohibited,
Not exhibited, but not for the reasons you’d suspect.

As it happens, the classical stance broke down, the stoic wept,
Theaters opened in gutters, the rats came out to applause.

As it happens, the spectacle stuck in our throats, the aftermath
Burst through the branches and flared, matchsticks sizzled with rain.

Lucky are they who sing without knowing the words, so la ti do,
Whatever the blasphemy, whatever the praise.

Phillis Levin has poems forthcoming in Kenyon Review, The New Yorker, and Plume Poetry 8. Her newest collection, Mr. Memory & Other Poems (Penguin Books, 2016), was a finalist for The Los Angeles Times Book Prize. She is the author of four other collections and the editor of The Penguin Book of the Sonnet: 500 Years of a Classic Tradition in English. She lives in New York and teaches at Hofstra University.