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Responses to American Poetry

The aim of this online space is to host the research work of university students or young scholars as this emerges from larger projects focusing on the American poetry scene. The objective of this initiative is to bring this kind of research activity to the attention of the general public in an attempt to further promote the exchange of ideas with regard to the process of reading, understanding and appreciating poetry writing.


Tatiani Rapatzikou 
(Associate Professor, School of English, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece; Advisor and initiative co-ordinator


Pamela Beatrice


Words and Stones

Reflection on a Command
“…do not move stones…” Sappho fragment 145

The grammarian studied the words. “A Command?”, she asked.
These few words on a vast white page.
A command is blunt, it bursts forward
Boundaries rare.
And shouldn’t we move stones, she asked herself.

Moses moved stones.
But was it only the words that mattered?
Or words carved in permanence.
“Do not kill!” is but one command. Yet stones can kill
When stone, word, intent are in discord.

The pharaoh, the despot, the medieval lord moved stones. No—
They commanded others to move stones
Burdened workers built the bridge, the road, the temple
Did their hearts temper as their sweat transformed to gateways and wonders?
Or did they harden?

A General commands “Move!”
Castle walls are rammed. Ancient pillars fall.
A soldier crouches behind the loophole in the stone wall and begins to shoot the enemy,
protected only by stones and sandbags.
The battle ends, the bodies counted. New boundaries surveyed.

No, this is not a command, the grammarian ascertained.
These few words on a vast white page.
They defy, they ask, they plead
For some unknown, something against the human grain.
Something that rails against the inevitable.

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