Sea’s fool

A. E. Stallings

I dreamed there was a flower called “Sea’s fool”That bloomed wild, dawdling on the shore, unkempt,Wind-tousled. Glamored by the name, I dreamtThe pink tinge of a second-water jewel.With trefoil leaves, in clover-globes, it grewAlong some rocky fringe of coast I knew,In pockets of sand along a tidal pool.Dreaming, I didn’t wonder what it meant,But waking, there was no such thing: “Sea’s fool”Was something I had dreamed up. To inventA thing only to lose it—I could seeThe plant clear as its name, could almost feelThe heart-shaped leaves’ rough cat-tongue texture, realAs the fool’s grief dreaming of the seizeful sea.

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A. E. Stallings has lived in Athens since 1999. Her new translation of Hesiod’s Works and Days is just out from Penguin Classics.

The New Criterion


New York, New York

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Executive Editor: James Panero
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The New Criterion, edited by Roger Kimball, was founded in 1982 by art critic Hilton Kramer and the pianist and music critic Samuel Lipman. A monthly review of the arts and intellectual life, The New Criterion began as an experiment in critical audacity—a publication devoted to engaging, in Matthew Arnold’s famous phrase, with “the best that has been thought and said.” This also meant engaging with those forces dedicated to traducing genuine cultural and intellectual achievement, whether through obfuscation, politicization, or a commitment to nihilistic absurdity. We are proud that The New Criterion has been in the forefront both of championing what is best and most humanely vital in our cultural inheritance and in exposing what is mendacious, corrosive, and spurious. Published monthly from September through June, The New Criterion brings together a wide range of young and established critics whose common aim is to bring you the most incisive criticism being written today.

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