As at the Far Edge of Circling

By Ed Roberson Ed Roberson
       As at the far edge of circling the country,
facing suddenly the other ocean,
the boundless edge of what I had wanted
to know, I stepped
      into my answers’ shadow ocean,
 
the tightening curl of the corners
of outdated old paperbacks,    breakers,
a crumble surf of tiny dry triangles around
       my ankles sinking in my stand
 
taken      that the horizon written
by the spin of my compass is          that this is
is not enough         a point to turn around on,
 
       is like a skin      that falls short of edge
as a rug,     that covers a no longer
natural spot, no longer existent
to live on from,    the map of my person
        come to the end of,       but not done.
 
        That country crossed was what I could imagine,
and that little spit of answer is the shadow—
not the ocean which casts it—      that I step next
into       to be cleansed of question.
 
      But not of seeking      …it as
if simplified for the seeking,
       come to its end at this body.

Ed Roberson, "As at the Far Edge of Circling" from To See the Earth Before the End of the World. Copyright © 2010 by Ed Roberson.  Reprinted by permission of Wesleyan University Press.

Source: To See the Earth Before the End of the World (Wesleyan University Press, 2010)

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Poet Ed Roberson

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

Subjects Living, Growing Old, The Body, Activities, Travels & Journeys, Arts & Sciences, Poetry & Poets

Biography

Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Roberson studied painting in his youth and was educated at the University of Pittsburgh. His extensive travels inform his work,which is also influenced by spirituals and the blues, and by visual art, such as the mixed-media collages of Romare Bearden. Poet and critic Michael Palmer has called Roberson “one of the most deeply innovative and critically acute voices of our time.”

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Growing Old, The Body, Activities, Travels & Journeys, Arts & Sciences, Poetry & Poets

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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