These Days

Days when it's easy, the water
          seems wonderfully clear, not a
                   chance of drowning. Objects

appear so close that you need only
          reach down for them into coolness
                   until the word offers up:

as though you could shape thought with
          your thumb. Around you the air
                   blossoms with names for itself.

The noise of the waves tearing
          the shore apart blooms like
                   French horns, and the taste

of the self is very sweet. These days
          it's easy to forget how
                   stubborn silence can be, how

rapidly glibness drains the mind of every
          nutrient, what fanatic reinforcements
                   the armies of emptiness can bring forward.

These days every choice is clear, every
          location opens at a touch to
                   yield its necessary

drop of honey, every word glows
          with exactly the wanted
                   intensity of
                   tilt.


Peter Davison is the poetry editor of The Atlantic.His poem in this issue will appear in his forthcoming book, Breathing Room,to be published by Knopf this fall.


The Atlantic Monthly; February 2000; These Days; Volume 285, No. 2; page 52.

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Peter Davison was The Atlantic's longtime poetry editor.

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