Friday, February 03, 2006

More Friday Poetry Blogging

This one is from Amy Clampitt's book Westward (1990), another favorite of mine. Clampitt, who died in 1994, is an interesting poet in part because, as I recollect, she didn't start publishing until she was in her 60s. She also happens to be an alumna of my alma mater, and we're all about giving shout-outs to fellow Grinnellians.

Portola Valley

A dense ravine, no inch
of which was level until
some architect niched in this
shimmer of partition, fishpond
and flowerbed, these fording-
stones' unwalled steep staircase
down to where (speak softly) you
take off your shoes, step onto
guest-house tatami matting,
learn to be Japanese.

There will be red wine,
artichokes, and California
politics for dinner; a mocking-
bird may whisper, a frog rasp
and go kerplunk, the shifting
inlay of goldfish in the court-
yard floor add to your vertigo;
and deer look in, the velvet
thrust of pansy faces and vast
violet-petal ears, inquiring,
stun you without a blow.

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