Home > Ekphrasis > Ekphrasis 10: Daniel Ribar + Katherine Abbott

Ekphrasis 10: Daniel Ribar + Katherine Abbott

April 6, 2007

A house in the world

by Daniel Ribar


Barn standing

If no fire guts it,
the sills rot out.
Oak a foot thick
will give to damp
within two hundred years.

Ice first split
the stone below.
Bore with a stone drill;
fill the groove with water.
One winter
will shear granite.

When the sills give,
the clapboards pleat
under the weight
of hay wagons.
The windows buckle,
and every summer
we mend the glass.

by Katherine Abbott

  1. April 6, 2007 at 9:05 am

    This is utterly gorgeous. I like the washed-out silver quality of the image, the way I’m not sure what I’m looking at is silver or grey — there’s a magic to that, a kind of blurriness not of the details but of the reality behind them.

    And I like the terseness of this poem, which seems to me spoken by a quintessential New England voice. And oh, oh, “the clapboards pleat / under the weight / of hay wagons” — all of those vowels, plus the image of wood pleating like cloth…!

  2. April 7, 2007 at 4:14 pm

    I like this very much too; yes it is a very Eastern American voice, I guess, but it also feels very familiar from this part of the world too, a rural, appraising way of looking at structure and materials and their coexistence with and against the forces of nature.

  3. Amy
    April 9, 2007 at 2:42 pm

    “Clapboards pleat” is my favorite line too. Beautiful photo and a beautiful image evoked by the poem.

  4. April 12, 2007 at 11:27 am

    Oh! This is wonderful.

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