Reading Aloud (#10): Amy Clampitt’s “A Silence” (1994)

A Silence

past parentage or gender
beyond sung vocables
the slipped-between
the so infinitesimal
fault line
a limitless interiority

beyond the woven
unicorn      the maiden
(man-carved worm-eaten)
God at her hip
the untransfigured
bluebell and primrose
growing wild      a strawberry
chagrin      night terrors
past the earthlit
unearthly masquerade

(we shall be changed)

a silence opens


the larval feeder
naked      hairy      ravenous
inventing from within
itself its own
raw stuffs’
hooked silk-hung

behind the mask
the milkfat      shivering
sinew      isinglass
uncrumpling      transient
greed to reinvest


names have been
given     (revelation
kif nirvana
syncope)     for
whatever gift
gives birth to

reincarnations of
the angels
Joseph Smith

a cavernous
compunction driving
who saw in it
the infinite
love of God
and had
(George Fox
was one)
great openings

— from The Collected Poems of Amy Clampitt (1997), pp. 432-33 [orig. from A Silence Opens [1994])

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