Cut, cut, then cut some more. Helen Vendler read this paean to the editing process in this year’s Robert B. Silvers Lecture.

Paradise
 .
I bless thee, Lord, because I GROW
Among thy trees, which in a ROW
To thee both fruit and order OW.
 .
What open force, or hidden CHARM
Can blast my fruit, or bring me HARM,
While the inclosure is thine ARM.
 .
Inclose me still for fear I START.
Be to me rather sharp and TART,
Than let me want thy hand and ART.
 .
When thou dost greater judgments SPARE,
And with thy knife but prune and PARE,
Ev’n fruitful trees more fruitful ARE.
 .
Such sharpness shows the sweetest FREND:
Such cuttings rather heal than REND:
And such beginnings touch their END.
 .
GEORGE HERBERT (1593-1633)
 .
Unknown

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(The periods between stanzas are not there in the original. I had to add them to force my template to accept a line space.)

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