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For a Child of Seven, Taken by the Jesuits. By Charles Martin

March 16, 1997

The little criminal is seized and shaken

Like a globe of snow; locked in a place without

Light or supper, he'd rather have been taken

By the red Indians he's read about

In Classic Comic Books; there the precocious

Seven-year-old absorbed atrocities

Of line and color scarcely less atrocious

Than the events themselves: Alice on her knees

In the glum forest, facing death or worse

From Magua, empurpled in his rage,

While those who love her ignorantly traverse

The awkward contours of a far-off page

Through thick and thin, through smudgy and grotesque:

A tightly rolled-up scroll on Father's desk.

From "What the Darkness Proposes" by Charles Martin (Johns Hopkins: 71 pp., $16.95). Reprinted by permission.

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