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Thanks to a residency at EcoHealth, my verse these days finds inspiration in the specter of future pandemics; for my dissertation at LMU M√ľnchen, where I tutor composition and edit a poetry weekly, I'm anatomizing the prosody of E. A. Robinson's sonnets—I also teach at MVHS and lead the Amerikahaus Literary Circle.

20121019

Oysters


by Seamus Heaney

Our shells clacked on the plates.
My tongue was a filling estuary,

My palate hung with starlight:
As I tasted the salty Pleiades
Orion dipped his foot into the water.


Alive and violated,
They lay on their bed of ice:
Bivalves: the split bulb
And philandering sigh of ocean --
Millions of them ripped and shucked and scattered.


We had driven to that coast
Through flowers and limestone
And there we were, toasting friendship,
Laying down a perfect memory
In the cool of thatch and crockery.


Over the Alps, packed deep in hay and snow,
The Romans hauled their oysters south of Rome:
I saw damp panniers disgorge
The frond-lipped, brine-stung
Glut of privilege


And was angry that my trust could not repose
In the clear light, like poetry or freedom
Leaning in from sea. I ate the day
Deliberately, that its tang
Might quicken me all into verb, pure verb.



Note:  A recitation can be heard here.

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