A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature
Forgive me, she happened to look & think & sound—
rather like you, especially the youthful Amy with beret & pearls
in London. Her voice: fervent & eager, rising in an upcurl
half-an-octave when startled—or surprised.
A birch, not an oak, not a willow,
but rather head-in-the-clouds.
A misfit child in Iowa, lying on the rug, reading.
A Quaker, impatient with authority.
She thought herself no scholar, but had the widest curiosity.
You’d have loved her Greenwich Village where
she met her partner Harold mixing sangria for the Democrats,
wrote angry letters to Kissinger, spent two nights in jail.
But even you will need a dictionary for her poems,
a notepad to diagram the syntax.
Nothing escaped her microscopic focus:
Not beach glass & owls, migraines & kudzu.
Remember when we camped in Acadia?
You could name every leafy twig, the smallest sea urchin.
Even now, Nancy, I know you’d drop everything
to listen to a hermit thrush.
Copyright 2016 Joan E. Bauer.
First published in Cider Press Review. Reprinted by permission of the author.
To read “A Hermit Thrush” by Amy Clampitt, click here.
Hermit thrush (photo Audubon Society)