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Forgiving Buckner

The world is always rolling between our legs.
It comes for us, dribbler, slow roller,
humming its goat song, easy as pie.

We spit in our gloves, bend our stiff knees,
keep it in front of us, our fathers' advice,
but we miss it every time, its physic, its science,
and it bleeds on through, blue streak, heart sore,
to the four-leaf clovers deep in right field.

The runner scores, knight in white armor,
the others out leaping, bumptious, gladhanding,
your net come up empty, Jonah again.
Even the dance of the dead won't come near you,
heart in your throat, holy of holies,
the oh of your mouth as the stone rolls away,
as if it had come from before you were born
to roll past your life to the end of the world,
till the world comes around again, gathering steam,
heading right for us again and again,
faith of our fathers, world without end.

—John Hodgen

from FIELD: Contemporary Poetry and Poetics, Number 62, Spring 2000
Oberlin College Press, Oberlin, OH

Copyright 1992 by John Hodgen.
All rights reserved.

Reprinted by permission of Oberlin College Press from FIELD: Contemporary Poetry and Poetics. Copyright 1992 by John Hodgen. For further permissions information, contact Linda Slocum, Managing Editor, Oberlin College Press, 10 N. Professor Street, Oberlin, OH 44074.

Poetry 180

About the Poet

John Hodgen is the author of four poetry collections, including Bread Without Sorrow (University of Washington Press, 2012). Hodgen won the AWP Donald Hall Prize in Poetry for Grace (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2006) and the 2008 Chad Walsh Prize in Poetry from Beloit Poetry Journal.

Learn more about John Hodgen at The Poetry Foundation.