A Stop Before Starting

By David Yezzi David Yezzi
The only time I’ve been to Switzerland
was early one spring on a train through the mountains.
There was a lake—I guess it was Lucerne?
Above me cliff tops ridged with snow fanned out
so that where I stood at the edge of the platform
light bathed the empty siding all around
with a diffused opalescence off the water.

Behind the station must have been a town,
spires of churches, municipal arcades,
and coffee squelching in the fogged cafés.
I never saw the place, though I remember
thinking this is Switzerland and took
a mind-shot of the pines, breathing in the cold
as the porter whistled at us to reboard.

David Yezzi, “A Stop Before Starting” from Birds of the Air. Copyright © 2013 by David Yezzi. Reprinted by permission of Carnegie Mellon University Press.

Source: Birds of the Air (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2013)

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Poet David Yezzi

Subjects Activities, Travels & Journeys, Nature, Landscapes & Pastorals

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 David  Yezzi


David Yezzi’s poetry collections include Azores (2008) and The Hidden Model (2003), and his criticism and poetry have appeared in The New York Times Book Review, The Wall Street Journal, and Best American Poetry. A former Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, Yezzi is Executive Editor of The New Criterion. He has also edited The Swallow Anthology of New American Poetry (2009). His libretto for a chamber opera by composer David . . .

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SUBJECT Activities, Travels & Journeys, Nature, Landscapes & Pastorals

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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