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Published: Sun Apr 15 2001
Eva Lundsager, Were now like (detail), 2021, oil on canvas
Postcard from S.

So far I met here two Homers and one Virgil.
It’s like a living anthology of classic literature,
Thunder and lightning almost every afternoon.
When neighbors meet, they slap mosquitoes
On each other’s foreheads and go off red in the face.

I’m lying in a hammock next to a burning barn
Watching a birch tree in the yard.
One minute it wrestles with the wind and smoke,
The next it raises its fists to curse the gods.
That, of course, makes it a Trojan
To the Greeks just arriving on a fire engine.

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Charles Simic (1938–2023) was a poet, essayist, translator, and editor. Born in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, he immigrated to the U.S. in 1954 and began publishing English-language poems in 1959. He received the Pulitzer Prize in poetry, was a MacArthur and Guggenheim Fellow, and served as poet laureate of the United States from 2007 to 2008. 

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