Meredith Martin ’97 is an Associate Professor at Princeton University, where she teaches the poetry of the 19th and 20th centuries. Her book The Rise and Fall of Meter: Poetry and English National Culture, 1860-1920 won the MLA Prize for a First Book. Her poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, Fireweed, Hubbub, and West Coast Line. At Smith, she took poetry classes with Karl Kirchwey, Sharon Cadman-Seelig, Susan Van Dyne, and Pat Skarda. During her senior year, she helped Annie Boutelle write the proposal that resulted in the Poetry Center.
An honest man has no need for weapons.
Through the cracked desert, the steepest mountains,
Even the thick banks of deadly rivers
No need. When I carelessly left this place,
Her name on my lips, all doubts left with me.
Even the thought of her thighs welcoming
Any wolf in sheep’s clothing. No thoughts
But her name on my lips and I could be
At the farthest station of this grim earth,
Waiting for a train that will never come
Or scorched and longing on the horizon
Of a cruel dawn, shelterless, and her name
On my lips will revive me, Lalagé.
My blood sings the echo of her sweet laugh.