Poem of the Week, by Linda McCarriston

Riding Out at Evening
– Linda McCarriston

At dusk, everything blurs and softens.
From here out over the long valley,
the fields and hills pull up
the first slight sheets of evening,
as, over the next hour,
heavier, darker ones will follow.

Quieted roads predictable deer
browsing in a neighbor’s field, another’s
herd of heifers, the kitchen lights
starting in many windows. On horseback
I take it in, neither visitor
nor intruder, but kin passing, closer
and closer to night, its cold streams
rising in the sugarbush and hollow.

Half-aloud, I say to the horse,
or myself, or whoever: let fire not come
to this house, nor that barn,
nor lightning strike the cattle.
Let dogs not gain the gravid doe, let the lights
of the rooms convey what they seem to.

And who is to say it is useless
or foolish to ride out in the falling light
alone, wishing, or praying,
for particular good to particular beings,
on one small road in a huge world?
The horse bears along, like grace,

making me better than what I am,
and what I think or say or see
is whole in these moments, is neither
small nor broken. For up, out of
the inscrutable earth, have come my body
and the separate body of the mare:
flawed and aching and wronged. Who then
is better made to say be well, be glad,

or who to long that we, as one,
might course over the entire valley,
over all valleys, as a bird in a great embrace
of flight, who presses against her breast,
in grief and tenderness,
the whole weeping body of the world?



For more information on Linda McCarriston, please click here: http://www.uaa.alaska.edu/cwla/faculty/corefaculty/lindamccarriston.cfm

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Poem of the Week, by John Hodgen

Boy Struck by Lightning Survives
– John Hodgen


what he was


St. Elmo’s boy, St. Vitus dance,

Franklin’s poor fool left holding the key.

Call him Ahab, ensnared,

snapped up in the lines, strapped

to the quivering column of whiteness.

Call him Jonah, spewed up,

his spiked hand bleached, pointing upward,

like a Joshua tree in a desert rain.

He knows the name of the fire that has found him.

He sings the accurate God.


what he saw


Slender lines alive in the light,

the swirl of magician’s wands,

the dance macabre in the veins

of an old woman’s legs,

chiaroscuros of the blind,

eyesockets of snakes,

spun gyros, filaments,

the wrinkled skin of the air,

every jot and tittle,

the blue and red whirlygigs

pulsing on the walls of the placenta.


what he will do


The teachers will let him stare out the window.

He will dream of King Midas, his scarred hands,

of pickpockets and frightened assassins,

of the concentric grooves inside a gun barrel.

He will know the umpire’s loneliness,

the idiot’s keen delight.

He will stand by the buck fence

at the end of the clearing

and wait for the sky to fill up,

the way he will wait for his father

to come home in the twilight,

the black Buick coming lonely over the rise.

He will become a surveyor,

will move a man slowly across the horizon,

like a lost cloud that he suddenly halts,

his hand held high in the air.



For more information about John Hodgen, please click here: http://howapoemhappens.blogspot.com/2010/09/john-hodgen.html

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