Unpacking a Globe
I gaze at the Pacific and don't expect
to ever see the heads on Easter Island,
though I guess at sunlight rippling
the yellow grasses sloping to shore;
yesterday a doe ate grass in the orchard:
it lifted its ears and stopped eating
when it sensed us watching from
a glass hallway—in his sleep, a veteran
sweats, defusing a land mine.
On the globe, I mark the Battle of
the Coral Sea—no one frets at that now.
A poem can never be too dark,
I nod and, staring at the Kenai, hear
ice breaking up along an inlet;
yesterday a coyote trotted across
my headlights and turned his head
but didn't break stride; that's how
I want to live on this planet:
alive to a rabbit at a glass door—
and flower where there is no flower.
For the rest of March, we will post poems to sustain and uplift through trying times. Each poem is accompanied with an image by author-illustrator Juana Medina http://www.juanamedina.com. We thank you for reading and hope that you will share poems with your friends and neighbors. Please be well.
Copyright © 2019 by Arthur Sze
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry Daily with permission.
Arthur Sze is a poet, translator, and editor. He is the author of ten books of poetry and is a professor emeritus at the Institute of American Indian Arts. His poems have been translated into eleven languages, including Chinese, Dutch, German, Korean, Italian, and Spanish. A recipient of the Jackson Poetry Prize from Poets & Writers, two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Howard Foundation Fellowship, a Lannan Literary Award, an American Book Award, a Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Writers’ Award, as well as five grants from the Witter Bynner Foundation for Poetry, Sze was the first poet laureate of Santa Fe, where he lives with his wife, Carol Moldaw. From 2012-2017, he was chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and, in 2017, was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Winner of the 2019 National Book Award
“Inside these poems of billowing consciousness, we too are alive to a spectrum of wonders.”
—The New York Times
“Sze artfully matches style and content... Finely crafted and philosophical, this is a book that rewards multiple careful readings.”
“...dazzling poems of connectivity and multiplicity..."