Cupids Health

“The Morning Line”by David Lehman: Poetry Feature of the Month on “The Common”


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Today The Common published The Morning Line, the title poem of my new poetry collection, as its poetry feature of the month. I wrote the poem on May 22, 2020, having always wanted to write a poem with that resonant title. The phrase dictated the subect matter: chance, gambling, and faith. Here are the opening two stanzas of this extended three-part meditation. — David Lehman

The Morning Line

— May 22, 2020

1.

You can pick horses on the basis of their names
and gloat when Justify wins racing’s Triple Crown 
or when, in 1975, crowd favorite Ruffian, “queen 
of the century,” goes undefeated until she breaks down 
in a match race with Derby winner Foolish Pleasure. 
Who could root against Ruffian? 
Did patriotic Englishmen cheer 
when Sir Winston won the Belmont last year? 

I rejoiced when Monarchos, a ten to one bet, became 
the second horse ever to break the two-minute mark
at the Kentucky Derby. Why did I pick it? I liked the name.
Those two minutes in May 2001 and the giddy hours after 
now seem a little like a garden party in England in July 1914 
as the nineteenth century approached the finish line 
and collapsed.

Please click here to read the rest of the poem.





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