‘Vespertina Cognito’ – Natasha Trethewey

  October 2nd, 2010

Here’s a lovely poem that came to me courtesy of the Academy of American Poets’ Poem-A-Day mailing list:

Vespertina Cognito
by Natasha Trethewey

Overhead, pelicans glide in threes—
     their shadows across the sand
          dark thoughts crossing the mind.

Beyond the fringe of coast, shrimpers
     hoist their nets, weighing the harvest
          against the day's losses. Light waning,

concentration is a lone gull
     circling what's thrown back. Debris
          weights the trawl like stones.

All day, this dredging—beneath the tug
     of waves—rhythm of what goes out, 
           comes back, comes back, comes back.


I love the poem’s staggered line-starts, its analoguing of beachy things with mind-states, the simple but effective repetition of the last line & the brief hypnotic lull it provides. Compressed, sensuous, direct language in the service of complex states and feelings — so much of what I love a poem to give me.

More Natasha Trethewey on the web:


[posted by C Way at 8:36 AM]


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