On the Ground

By Saskia Hamilton b. 1967 Saskia Hamilton
When the collie saw the child
break from the crowd,

he gave chase, and since they both
were border-crossers,

they left this world.
We were then made of—

affronted by—silence.
The train passed Poste 5, Paris,

late arrival, no luck, no
enlarging commentary

magnified in any glass.
“The ineffable

is everywhere in language”
the speaker had said

in the huge hall where
I sat amongst coughers,

students, in the late
February of that year,

at the end of a sinuous
inquiry on sense and sound—

“and very close to the ground,” he’d said.
Like mist risen above

the feet of animals
in a far field north of here.

Source: Poetry (July/August 2012).

MORE FROM THIS ISSUE

This poem originally appeared in the July/August 2012 issue of Poetry magazine

July/August 2012

Biography

Born in Washington, DC, poet Saskia Hamilton earned a BA at Kenyon College and an MA at New York University. Her poetry collections include Canal: New and Selected Poems (2005), Divide These (2005), and As for Dream (2001). She coedited Words in Air: The Complete Correspondence Between Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell (2008) with Thomas Travisano and edited The Letters of Robert Lowell (2005). Her work also appears in the . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poems by Saskia Hamilton

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, The Mind, Youth, Nature, Animals, Arts & Sciences, Language & Linguistics

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Poetic Terms Free Verse

Report a problem with this poem


Your results will be limited to content that appeared in Poetry magazine.

Search Every Issue of Poetry

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.