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Posts Tagged ‘Catherine Jagoe’

Psalm

April 27, 2010 5 comments

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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Still, Life

April 5, 2010 4 comments

by Catherine Jagoe

the world is warming
the Antarctic ice shelf just lost
a chunk large as Manhattan magnified by seven
if you live in America
my land by emigration

in Britain the land of my birth
that chunk was the Isle of Man

in Spain my land by adoption
it was the province of Burgos

to feel loss we have to make it local
the globe our yard

once as a child I saw a Portuguese man’o’war
mauve caravel in pristine waters
cruise downwind off the Outer Hebrides
but now my humming screen predicts the Gulf
Stream that hugs the British Isles
could stray plunging the kingdom into a new
Ice Age

last year I saw twelve storks trying to nest on one church tower
in old Castile no longer
migrating south to Africa

but winter here on the Great Lakes was so hard the squirrels
gnawed the bark from the small high branches
ice dammed on eaves and melted into ceilings
highways became rutted village lanes
and icicles hazardous to passing humans
mice invaded our basement to steal cat food
which they stored in the oven thereby
setting it on fire

the recently emerged yards
are muddy as flood-grounds
spring has come violent here
this week I saw a home lurch
whole and entire into a brown maelstrom
and break apart roof upside down a foundered ark


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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.

Categories: Health Tags: