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In the Natural History Museum
Gilbert Allen


for Caroline Tevis-Bernardy


Don’t touch the world the guard says (to the child
stretching toward the great, inviting globe)

as if the Prime Meridian’s defiled.       
A tiny fingertip’s an Anglophobe
in an obedient instant. And the pink
of England is preserved from anarchy
once more—by our commanding, kindred link
to Reading Gaol, in Washington, DC.
You weren’t there, but someday this story might reach
your eyes or ears. Then thank your lucky stars,
your hands, grasping the sand of Folly Beach,
the red clay of Berea—wherever you were,
and are, and will be, as you press upon
this crumbling earth, as gently as you can.

© by Gilbert Allen.
Used with the author’s permission.


Gilbert Allen has lived in upstate South Carolina with his wife, Barbara, since 1977. Together they enjoy gardening, poetry readings, and visiting with family and friends. Gil is the author of six collections of poems, most recently Catma (Measure Press, 2014). Learn more about Gil at





Post New Comment:
Lori Levy:
Especially like the last 2 stanzas.
Posted 11/05/2015 10:22 AM
Excellent sonnet.
Posted 11/05/2015 08:01 AM
A fine poem...a moving message!!
Posted 11/05/2015 07:35 AM

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