What is it about the Abyss
that tempts the young poet to kiss
the air and head for the nearest cliff? This
unreasonable attachment to the bliss
of falling — what accounts for it? Unlike the hiss
announcing a reptilian presence, the word Abyss
creates the object of our dread: it exists, it is,
widening like the gulf between whis-
key and wine, and we, drunk on neither, miss
the days when we, too, tumbled headlong out of heaven, pissed

Analysis, meaning and summary of David Lehman's poem June 19

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