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Psalm

April 27, 2010

by Catherine Jagoe

I pause in the airport parking ramp alive
with the avid conversations of sparrows
celebrating the ordinary.

They make this half-deserted hangar
musical as a cathedral, open to the air,
full of light and shadows, cool spaces.

I see our house when it was a great skeleton
of yellow wood, the roof ribs of whale,
green light of summer in the rafters.

A wasps’ nest falls from the heft
of the silver maple. I hold
this fine grey paper from the sky.

I sing and sometimes sound fills
my mouth and throbs there, my throat
an instrument, my ribs a soundboard.

I swim. I keep my head low
in the water, thinking of seals’
breath, swivel, drive, flip, glide.

I endure the clamor of children,
ground down smooth by it like shingle
clattered and worn on the strand.

I plant wormwood, sage.
I snap asparagus spears,
split the wood from the green.

The mock orange that I tried to kill
is drenched in blossom, tipsy.
Again, its scent undoes me.


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Catherine Jagoe is a poet and translator. Poems from her chapbook Casting Off (Parallel Press, 2007) have been featured on The Writer’s Almanac and Poetry Daily. Her translations include two novels, one from Spain, That Bringas Woman (Everyman, 1996) and one from Argentina, My Name Is Light (Bloomsbury, 2003). She recently finished translating a memoir about the Arctic from Catalan into English.

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  1. Isa
    April 28, 2010 at 9:08 pm

    What an inspirational poem about the wonder of everyday life. Thank you.

  2. Mary Davis Michaud
    April 28, 2010 at 9:20 pm

    An exercise in stumbling upon magnificence and being present enough in your senses to actually see it. Taste it. Feel it. Revel. Brilliant, Catherine.

  3. Joyce
    April 28, 2010 at 11:19 pm

    Drenched in blossom – what a perfect description of so many of the trees around us this week! Thank you, Catherine, for helping us all pause to appreciate this quickly moving season.

  4. pvl
    May 2, 2010 at 12:40 am

    This is a beautiful poem, thank you

  5. Russell Gardner, Jr.
    May 2, 2010 at 7:42 am

    the house skeleton of yellow wood (house yet to come but from the former intact trees) juxtaposed with the skeleton of a whale. Past-future, destruction-construction, spring from fall, the mock-orange whose destruction hoped for yet glad for not having success: so interesting and beautiful!

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