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Poems

Written by Marie PonsotAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Marie Ponsot

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On Sale: May 17, 2011
Pages: 96 | ISBN: 978-0-307-70128-2
Published by : Knopf Knopf
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Synopsis|Excerpt

Synopsis

A “delightful” (Poetry), celebratory volume of late-life poems from the award-winning octogenarian Marie Ponsot.

Excerpt

THIS BRIDGE, LIKE POETRY, IS VERTIGO


In a time of dearth bring forth number, weight, & measure.
—WILLIAM BLAKE


Describing the wind that drives it, cloud

rides between earth and space. Cloud

shields earth from sun-scorch. Cloud

bursts to cure earth’s thirst. Cloud

—airy, wet, photogenic—

is a bridge or go-between;

it does as it is done by.

It condenses. It evaporates.

It draws seas up, rains down.

I do love the drift of clouds.

Cloud-love is irresistible,

untypical, uninfinite.


Deep above the linear city this morning

the cloud’s soft bulk is almost unmoving.

The winds it rides are thin;

it makes them visible.

As sun hits it or if sun

quits us it’s blown away

or rains itself or snows itself away.

It is indefinite:


This dawns on me: no cloud is measurable.


Make mine cloud.

Make mind cloud.


The clarity of cloud is in its edgelessness,

its each instant of edge involving

in formal invention, always

at liberty, at it, incessantly altering.

A lucky watcher will catch it

as it makes big moves:

up the line of sight it lifts

until it conjugates or

dissipates,

its unidentical being intact

though it admits flyers.

It lets in wings. It lets them go.

It lets them.

It embraces mountains & spires built

to be steadfast; as it goes on

it lets go of them.


It is not willing.

It is not unwilling.


Late at night when my outdoors is

indoors, I picture clouds again:


Come to mind, cloud.

Come to cloud, mind.



LAST


Waste-pipe sweat, unchecked, has stained the floor

under the kitchen sink. For twenty years

it’s eased my carelessness into a mean soft place,


its dirty secret dark, in a common place.

Today the pipe’s fixed. Workmen rip up the floor

that’s served and nagged me all these good/bad years.


They cut and set in new boards, to last for years.

House-kept no more, I waltz out of the place

clean-shod and leave no footprint on the floor,


displaced and unfloored. This year, nothing goes to waste.
 


TV, EVENING NEWS
—seen on CNN, autumn 2005, Afghanistan


It’s a screenful of chaos but

the cameraman’s getting good framing shots

from behind one woman’s back.

The audio’s poor. The shouts are slices of noise.

I don’t know the languages.


No hot hit heroes are there.

No wicked people are there.


Achilles is not there, or Joshua either.

Rachel is not there, nor Sojourner Truth.

Iwo Jima flag boys? not there.

Twin Towers first defenders? not there.

My children are thank God not there

any more or less than you and I are not there.


I safe screen-watch. A youth

young in his uniform

signals his guard squad

twice: OK go, to the tanks

and the cameramen: OK go.


The tank takes the house wall.

The house genuflects. The tank proceeds.

The house kneels. The roof dives.

The woman howls. Dust rises.

They cut to the next shot.


The young men and the woman

breathe the dust of the house

which now is its prayer.

A dust cloud rises, at one

with the prayer of all the kneeling houses

asking to be answered

and answerable anywhere.


From the Hardcover edition.
Marie Ponsot

About Marie Ponsot

Marie Ponsot - Easy
Marie Ponsot's first book of poems was True Minds (1956); later books are Admit Impediment (1981) and The Green Dark (1988). She is a native New Yorker who has enjoyed teaching at Queens College, Beijing United University, the Poetry Center of the YMHA, New York University, and Columbia University. Among her awards are an NEA Creative Writing grant, the Delmore Schwartz Memorial Prize, and the Shaughnessy Medal of the Modern Language Association. Ponsot's most recent collection, The Bird Catcher, won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry in 1998.
Praise

Praise

“Few poets are as infectiously joyful to read as Marie Ponsot . . . a woman whose cliché- bashing wit and experience only seem to make her fresh, almost childlike wonderment in the world around her . . . that much more arresting.”

Vogue


  • Easy by Marie Ponsot
  • May 17, 2011
  • Poetry
  • Knopf
  • $17.00
  • 9780375711879

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