From the Orison, River Stones

Lisa Russ Spaar Click to

SpaarLisaRuss0806Lisa Russ Spaar is the author of Glass Town (Red Hen Press, 1999), Blue Venus (Persea, 2004), Satin Cash (Persea, 2008) and most recently Vanitas, Rough (Persea, December 2012).  She is the editor of Acquainted with the Night:  Insomnia Poems and All that Mighty Heart:  London Poems.  Her awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Rona Jaffe Award, and the Carole Weinstein Poetry Prize.  Her poems have appeared in the Best American Poetry series, Blackbird, Ploughshares, and Virginia Quarterly Review, and her commentaries appear regularly in national venues.  She is Professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Virginia.  “T’Parson’s Anne” first appeared in Shenandoah 49/1.

White thorn, crimson hips.
Pleasures of the without.  Pain of the without.

Venus tucks low here, disappearing
into the mountains’ stadia.

What I can’t say, stepping into foreign tense
of river, magnetic sluice, arctic tongs,

far-off source without mercy or care for me.
My love has stories not mine to know

or ever tell.  Bruised fringe, black & white maiden hair,
lupine, fox ferns, do I project?

Sometimes.  I have a rash beneath my shirt,
pubis to lonely breasts.  To pass a melancholy hour,

John Clare copied from the Stamford Mercury
news of the elderly:   old lady by name of Faunt,

who at 105 “has lately cut new teeth,”
a parish clerk, 115, “now able to read without spectacles,

& dig graves.”  Sad swipe of late middle age,
waters brutishly beautiful & full of flame.

Thus runs the world alway, & we incurable
in its sway.  Say it:  the world taketh.

But even its farthest reach is ours,
shed molar of horizon I pluck up & carry, wet, away.