“Can you taste what I’m saying?”

Levine2The poem continues: “It is onions and potatoes . . . it is obvious. . .” This is how Philip Levin conceptualizes truth in the poem “The Simple Truth.” I’m often reminded of this gritty, elegant poem when I scrub potatoes for dinner. He writes, “Some things you know all your life. They are so simple and true they must be said without elegance, meter and rhyme, they must be laid on the table beside the salt shaker, the glass of water, the absence of light gathering in the shadows of picture frames, they must be naked and alone, they must stand for themselves.”

Philip Levine, The Simple Truth (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1995), 44.


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