About the Author
Robert King (1937- )
Robert King called Grand Forks, North Dakota, home from 1968 until his retirement from the University of North Dakota as professor emeritus in 1996. He had a joint appointment teaching creative writing in the English Department and also in the Elementary Education Department at UND. He is presently directing the Colorado Poets Program and lives in Greeley, Colorado. You can find more of his recent poems and commentary on his website.
Standing Around Outside (1970)
A Circle of Land (1990)
Learning American (1998)
Naming Names (2001)
What It Was Like (2003)
Old Man Laughing (Ghost Road Press, 2007)
Old Man Laughing (2007)
From the Book of Rope
First, there is love. Secondly,
the square knot, a perfect binding
of two equal loops, useful
for fastening gifts to each other
or, in the extreme, for closing bandages
over wounds, expected or not.
The sheet-bend hooks unequal partners,
originally a rope to the twisted end
of a sail, something fastened against wind.
The bowline’s loop won’t close, good
for saving yourself in mountain-climbing,
or, in general, being lifted up, lowered.
Hitches bind us to things, thwarting
our drift, boat to a tree, horse to any rail--
two half-hitches, hundreds of half-hitches.
In the book of rope, three tests
for every knot: Is it easy to tie?
Will it stay tied firmly? And
finally, will it be easy to untie?
Which knots have we chosen?
What else sadly should we know?
(originally in Missouri Review)