The Lake

By Sophie Cabot Black b. 1958
Day and night, the lake dreams of sky.
A privacy as old as the mountains
And her up there, stuck among peaks. The   whole eye

Fastened on hawk, gatherings of cloud or stars,
So little trespass. An airplane once
Crossed her brow; she searched but could not find

A face. Having lived with such strict beauty
She comes to know how the sun is nothing
But itself and the path it throws; the moon

A riddled stone. If only a hand
Would tremble along her cheek, would disturb. Even the elk
Pass by, drawn to the spill of creeks below—

How she cannot help abundance, even as it leaves
Her, as it sings all the way down the mountain.

Source: Poetry (January 2003).

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This poem originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Poetry magazine

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January 2003
 Sophie Cabot Black

Biography

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 Seas, Rivers, & Streams, Landscapes & Pastorals, Nature

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Poetic Terms Pastoral

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