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THE PRINTER by Jenny Doughty

All day he labours, polishing the plate
(small, nondescript, whose eyes illuminate

his workman's face), picks up the burin, starts
to etch out in reverse all but the heart

of what he sees, carves worlds in words,
carves tigers, devils, chimney-sweeps and birds.

All day he labours, polishing the plate
(small, nondescript, whose eyes illuminate

his workman’s face), picks up the burin, starts
to etch out in reverse all but the heart

of what he sees, carves worlds in words,
carves tigers, devils, chimney-sweeps and birds.

Varnish and ink and acid-bath stand by,
then, day’s work done, he walks in Peckham Rye

and sees the new-leaved trees through tired eyes,
each leaf a green-winged angel on the sky.

William Blake’s print of “The Tyger,” one of the works that inspired Jenny Doughty’s poem. Image courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

 

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About Jenny Doughty

Jenny Doughty
Jenny Doughty is a British poet who has lived in Maine for ten years. She is a former English teacher and Education Adviser to Penguin Books in the UK. She edited an anthology of pre-20th century poetry and published two children’s non-fiction books under the name Jenny Green, plus short stories and articles in UK magazines, where she also did a stint as an agony aunt (Brit-speak for a person like Dear Abby who offers answers to readers' problems). In the United States, her poems have been published in Gestalt Review, Horticulture, Pulse, and Naugatuck River Review.