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the list seemed

(click forward for reversible experiments of same text)


I never knew what I was sent for . give me information       1
to sign my name on the dotted line but I never knew what I was signing       2
and I never knew what I was missing       3
I never knew what I was dealing with... It just goes to show, you never know.       4
and for that matter I never knew what I was until much later       5
all kinds of old parts and tools, I never knew what I was looking at but I knew       6
Until I tried it, I never knew what I was       7
I never knew what I was going to be questioned about       8
I never knew what I was aiming at and why       9
I never knew what I was singing and I didn’t have a clue what was going on       10
(and she replied, “I never knew what I was getting myself into.”)       11
I never knew what I was supposed to do during a quiet time.
Read one verse?
Is a chapter enough?
Maybe I should memorize the whole book.
The list seemed both empty and endless.       12
I never knew what I was missing I was missing       13
I never knew what I was going to find       14
I never knew what I was going to hear,       15
I never knew what I was going to say       16
I never knew what I was going to say until I said it — the words just came out       17
I never knew what I was looking for.       18
I never knew what I was looking for but always found something,       19
I never knew what I was going to do. Fortunately something usually developed       20
I never knew what I was doing until ten minutes after I had done it,       21
I never knew what I was doin’. It used to worry me       22
all day long. I never knew what I was       23
I never knew what I was supposed to be perfect at and what didn’t matter.       24
I never knew what I was supposed to say, so I said nothing and       25
I always dreaded removing bandages for fear of hemorrhage.
I never knew what I was going to find.       26
I never knew what I was missing when       27


  1. ex Minutes of Evidence Taken before the Lancaster Bribery Commission, 28 August 1866, in Report of the Commissioners appointed to inquire into the Existence of Corrupt Practices at the last Election for Members to serve in Parliament for the Borough of Lancaster; together with the minutes of evidence: Vol 13 (of 24) (1867) : 38
    OCR cross-column misread
  2. ex Tony’s story, in Valerie Polakow, Lives on the Edge : Single Mothers and Their Children in the Other America (1993; pb edn, 1993) : 65
  3. ex Ronald J. Lavin, Way to Grow! : Dynamic Church Growth Through Small Groups (1996) : 76
  4. ex James Wilcox (1949- *), Miss Undine’s Living Room: A Novel (2001) : 152
  5. ex Bernie Matthews, Intractable (2007) : here
  6. ex Mark Roehrig, The Amphigeo Story, The first and only “how to book” enabling you to build your own amphibious car (Trafford, 2002) : 20
  7. ex Tommy Watson, A Face of Courage: The Tommy Watson Story — How Did He Survive? (2008) : 95
  8. ex Denise George, Chapter 8, “Sometimes I’m overwhelmed with anxiety,” in What Pastors Wish Church Members Knew : Understanding the needs, fears, and challenges of church leaders today (2009) : 101
  9. ex Thomas R. Hauff, When God Says, “No” : Reshaping Prayer and Learning to Listen (2010) : 41
  10. “It had all been in Latin...” ex Carol Ann Rusch, This Lady Here : I'll Drink to That (2010) : 172
  11. ex David Kamara, Overcoming Gossips (2007) : 2
  12. ex Emily P. Freeman, Chapter 12, “Remain, on quiet and time” in Grace for the Good Girl : Letting Go of the Try-Hard Life (2011) : 141
  13. ex Rahab Kimani, Deeply in Love : Poetic Love Stories (2012) : 60
  14. ex Connie Martin and Barry Dundas, Love Never Ends (2012) : 137
  15. ex Jane Gillooly on her On Suitcase of Love and Shame, in Scott MacDonald his Avant-doc : Intersections of Documentary and Avant-garde Cinema (2015) : 338
  16. ex Curt Lindner, Fighting the Good Fight : Faith Through the Adversity of Terminal Cancer (2012) : 30
  17. ex Herbert D. Blake, The Last Place I Looked : A Story of Hope, Inspiration, Transformation, and Restorative Justice (2013) : 37
  18. ex Bruce Kelley, Ernetta Fox, Justin Smith, Preparing Your Campus for Veterans’ Success : An Integrated Approach to Facilitating The Transition and Persistence of Our Military Students (2013) : 25
  19. ex Miljenko Jergovic, Mama Leone, translated from the Croatian by David Williams (2012) : 11
  20. ex John Franceschina, Hermes Pan : The Man Who Danced with Fred Astaire (2012) : 133
    Hermes Pan[aglotopoulos] (1909-1990) — wikipedia
  21. ex C. Everette Hagler, Breathless : An Inward Journey (2013) : 370
  22. ex Gerald Olson, “Seven Come Eleven, Baby Needs a New Pair of Shoes,” in Random Runes : New Poems & Old Elegies (2013) : 111
  23. ex Lisa Unger, In the Blood : Chilling grip-lit with a breathtaking twist you won’t see coming (2014) : here
  24. ex Ann W. Smith, Overcoming Perfectionism : Finding the Key to Balance and Self-Acceptance (2013) : here
  25. ex Edward Bryant, “The Cutter,” in Ellen Datlow, ed., The Cutting Room : Dark Reflections of the Silver Screen (2014) : 1-14 (2)
  26. from a passage in Nurse Elizabeth Weaver’s description of an operating room at a base, quoted in Kathy Warnes, “Remembering and Forgetting Meuse-Argonne: The Shifting Sands and Partitioned Perspectives of Memory,” in Edward G. Lengel, ed., A Companion to the Meuse-Argonne Campaign (2014) : 472-495 (476)
  27. ex Gail Nall, Breaking the Ice (2015) : 115

notes —

The construct “I never knew what I was” appears only once in a pre-1923 Google Books search; it surfaces again in 1994, and frequently thereafter.

Strict chronology didn’t work, music and sense-wise, but is one of my limits. I anticipate that this post will exist only in the HTML asfaltics archive; I hope to set it in a table, whose row order can be reversed by switching top to bottom, bottom to top (first attempt wasn’t successful).

The initial idea was that sources would be given only for extended extracts, and/or where the source — on its own trajectory, in its own context — drew me further down its path. In the end, I cited all 27. Some — numbers 19, 26 — were more interesting than others, but I depended equally on each one. Several of these sources are self-published.

12 July 2020

tags: cento; tercet