The One Turn That Makes the New World

By Sophie Cabot Black b. 1958
Maybe the light from a small window
Tucked at the utmost eave of the barn
Could be misunderstood; if only I had pulled  

In by the other way or not looked up
Against such darkness. The animal I brought
Into this no longer mine, the task

Each day was to confine enough, from harm
Or from each other as night loosens
Over the assemblage. But in the pasture

One wrong step was taken. And those who remain
Are weary, heads low, torment nowhere   
To be seen, not even in the illumination

Of men who have come to help,
Who behind the double doors keep watch
By the body so it does not become

Anything for those who scavenge, to follow back
The acts of blood right up to the locked stall
And light where each shaft lands precisely again

Through the again. The horse was in the snow,
The rock was underfoot; all the unknowables
Made whole and apparent by one who stumbled.

Source: Poetry (May 2011).


This poem originally appeared in the May 2011 issue of Poetry magazine

May 2011
 Sophie Cabot Black


Raised on a small New England farm, poet Sophie Cabot Black received a BA from Marlboro College and an MFA from Columbia University. Black’s collections of poetry include The Misunderstanding of Nature (1994), which won the Poetry Society of America’s Norma Farber First Book Award, and The Descent (2004), which won the Connecticut Book Award. Black’s lyrical poems are both revelatory and elusive, exploring a landscape sharpened . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Nature, Animals

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Poetic Terms Tercet

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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