BLESSINGS AND CURSES poems by Anne Whitehouse

From our 20th Anniversary Anthology

poems by Anne Whitehouse


There is something to be said
for being a renter,
of watching over a place
without the obligation
to improve it.

The Native Americans
made it a practice
to leave little trace of themselves
on the landscape.

Few of us can bear
to travel so lightly.
Yet this is our condition:
to occupy this life,
knowing we will
be parted from it,
but not when.

At sunset my shadow stretches
over the sea as I ease myself in
for the last swim of summer.
For thirty years I’ve immersed
in the cold waters of this cove
and felt cradled by sea and sky.
In their ever-changing immensities
I sense the unpossessable sublime.

I sink my restless thoughts to silence
so I may cleave to my true purpose.

Tethered, words enter the mind
through the eye or the ear,
to make of themselves
the weightless structure
apprehended wholly or in part,
like a shape shifting in the mist,
reverberant as a song,
to be taken up or forgotten,
like spent desire, or sunlight
shining on water, a fading reflection.