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Wednesday, July 9, 2008 09:11 pm

People's poetry

Presented by Jacqueline Jackson

Untitled Document springfieldpoem #8

a mother aims her camera at
four laughing children clustered
by lincoln’s statue the one across from the museum where he’s in
a strong breeze his coat flapping
three of the kids are on the ground
a fourth has clambered up beside him one child reaches up holds his hand

© Jacqueline Jackson 2008
I’ve lived all my life on the plains, where no body of water is more than a few feet deep, and even at that shallow depth I’m afraid of it. Here Sam Green, who lives on an island north of Seattle, takes us down into some really deep, dark water.
Night Dive
Down here, no light but what we carry with us. Everywhere we point our hands we scrawl color: bulging eyes, spines, teeth or clinging tentacles. At negative buoyancy, when heavy hands seem to grasp & pull us down, we let them,
we don’t inflate our vests, but let the scrubbed cheeks of rocks slide past in amniotic calm. At sixty feet we douse our lights, cemented by the weight of the dark, of water, the grip of the sea’s absolute silence. Our groping
hands brush the open mouths of anemones, which shower us in particles of phosphor radiant as halos. As in meditation, or in deepest prayer, there is no knowing what we will see.
Poem copyright © 1998 by Samuel Green. Reprinted by permission of the author, Sam Green, from his book The Grace of Necessity (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2008). American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Ted Kooser served as the U.S. poet laureate 2004-2006. For more information, go to www.americanlifeinpoetry.org.
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