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
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.