Poem by Patricia Clark

Eyewear is very pleased to welcome Patricia Clark (pictured) this Friday. I met her recently at Kingston University, which she was visiting, and we had a very engaging lunch together, discussing poetry, and creative writing. I hope to arrange a reading for her next time she is in the UK.

Clark is Poet-in-Residence and Professor in the Department of Writing at Grand Valley State University. She is the author of three books of poetry: She Walks Into the Sea (forthcoming in 2009), My Father on a Bicycle (2005), and North of Wondering (1999).

Her poetry has appeared in magazines such as The Atlantic Monthly, Slate, Poetry, and Woman. She has also co-edited an anthology of contemporary women writers called Worlds in Our Words. Her chapbook of poems, Given the Trees, is one of the initial four in a series from the American Land Publishing Project.

Clark graduated from the University of Washington (in economics), going on to receive an MFA in English and creative writing from the University of Montana and a Ph.D. in English from the University of Houston. Clark was invited with two other poets to open the Library of Congress's noon reading series in Washington, D.C. in 2005.

Out With The Monarch, The Vole, And The Toad

To live as they do, vulnerably, in the air,
the wing-assaulting wind, to breathe
the wind, the cool September air, and watch
the Sweet Autumn clematis twine and climb.
To live with the scuff and smatter of leaves
at the burrow hole, the dying fall of the pink
geranium petal, the tomato stalk blackening from last
the dead night's chill. To live with the thought, the weight
branch pitching down to shatter in the yard,
the hawk's shadow, the days ahead
without sun. A full moon spills its cream
over Dean Lake and boys at midnight
putter on their scow. An exhalation from the lake
rises to surround them, safe with a light,
though far from shore. To live with water's depth
and dark, some force that wants to pull things
in and down. To live hidden, hurrying, hurt.
The toad finds the upturned pot and crouches there,
but the snake crawls across the flagstones' warmth
and surprises it. To live the death, the thrash
in red, the awful struggle, to let breath go.
To hunker down and yet be lifted up, skin tingling,
synapses firing, the heart a-beat, awash, eyes
wide, nose lifted to what is perceptibly near.

poem by Patricia Clark
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