Stay by the hearth, little cricket.—Cendrillon
You prefer me invisible, no more thana crisp salute far away fromyour silks and firewood and woolens.Out of sight, I'm merely an annoyance,one slim, obstinate wrinkle in night'sdeepening trance. When sleep fails,you wish me shushed and back in my hole.As usual, you're not listening: time stopsonly if you stop long enough to hear itpassing. This is my business:I've got ten weeks left to croon through.What you hear is a lifetime of song.
“Postlude” by Rita Dove, featured in The Paris Review Issue No. 235, Winter 2020.
Copyright © 2020 by The Paris Review, used by permission of The Wylie Agency LLC.
© 2020 by Fred Viebahn
Rita Dove won the Pulitzer Prize for her third book of poetry, Thomas and Beulah, in 1987 and was U.S. Poet Laureate 1993-95. She received the National Humanities Medal from President Clinton and the National Medal of Arts from President Obama — the only poet ever to receive both. Her many honors include a 2017 NAACP Image Award (for Collected Poems 1974-2004), the Heinz Award in the Arts and Humanities, and the Academy of American Poets’ Wallace Stevens Award. She is the Henry Hoyns Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Virginia. Her eleventh collection of poetry, Playlist for the Apocalypse, is forthcoming from W.W. Norton in the summer of 2021.
Since its founding 1953, The Paris Review has been America’s preeminent literary quarterly, dedicated to discovering the best new voices in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. The Review’s renowned Writers at Work series of interviews is one of the great landmarks of world literature. Hailed by the New York Times as “the most remarkable interviewing project we possess,” the series received a George Polk Award and has been nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. With the December 2016 redesign of the Review’s website, the complete digital archive of everything we’ve published since 1953 is available to subscribers. In November 2017, the Review gave voice to nearly sixty-five years of writing and interviews with the launch of its first-ever podcast, featuring a blend of classic stories and poems, vintage interview recordings, and new work and original readings by the best writers of our time.