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a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society

Section 4: The Concept of Inhabitance

Patricia Clark

Patricia Clark
Sword Fern
From the tall stalk, from Puget lowlands,
this long frond coping to unwind—
scrolled at the tip end, treble clef, tail
of the magical seahorse. My mare,
sister, let us step lightly on spongy ground
into May’s landscape where moss lies down,
inching forward. I don’t want to lift swords,
contending, vying. If we spar, I fear
the blade at my throat, its tip
at my eyeball—you are quick beyond
all telling, I cannot help but shy
from you. What does it mean to share
blood, root-hairs? I am at a loss
to know. Is a chorus frog snugged
at your base? Let us make
shelter for the new singing ones, not
fighting but saying softly, tell, let in, in
where most tender, gentle, and most soft.
Patricia Clark is Poet-in-Residence and Professor in the Department of Writing at Grand Valley State University. Author of four volumes of poetry, Patricia’s latest book is Sunday Rising. She has also published a chapbook titled Given the Trees. Her work has been featured on Poetry Daily and Verse Daily, also appearing in The Atlantic, Gettysburg Review, Poetry, Slate, and Stand. Recent work appears (or is forthcoming) in Kenyon Review, New England Review, Southern Humanities Review, North American Review, Plume, and elsewhere. She was poet laureate of Grand Rapids from 2005-2007.



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