Revelation at Cap Ferrat

By Clarence Major b. 1936 Clarence Major
It’s not solely the dance
of the juggler but his spirit:
with its turkey wings, perfect thighs,
sensuous hips, large round flat eye.
This eye smiles like lips.
Watch this eye—
it’s not a donkey eye.

It’s not solely the dancer
who moves like a circus animal
as though to children’s music—no,
it’s the girl in the swing’s rhythm,
the ticking of the clock at night,
the strut of the cock, the flight
of the holy family to the remains.
The nipple that feeds
the infant is an eye looking
into his future.

It’s not even the village square
with its musicians and happy faces
that makes the difference—no,
because if it were, weddings
with violins, harps, flutes
would have settled the question:
no, it is the rising and lifting,
the failing and catching of
that unknown sense of self
before it crashes, that matters.

Clarence Major, “Revelation at Cap Ferrat” from Configurations: New and Selected Poems 1958-1998. Copyright © 1998 by Clarence Major. Reprinted with the permission of Copper Canyon Press, P.O. Box 271, Port Townshend, WA 98368-0271,

Source: Configurations: New and Selected Poems 1958-1998 (Copper Canyon Press, 1998)

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Poet Clarence Major b. 1936


Subjects Relationships, Arts & Sciences, Music, Theater & Dance

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Clarence  Major


American writer Clarence Major "has been in the forefront of experimental poetry and prose," Eugene B. Redmond writes in Parnassus. "In prose he fits 'loosely' into a category with William Melvin Kelley and Ishmael Reed. But his influences and antecedents are not so easy to identify." Perhaps best known for his novels, Major draws on his experience as a Southern African-American to "[defy] the white-imposed 'traditions' of black . . .

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SUBJECT Relationships, Arts & Sciences, Music, Theater & Dance


Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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