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: