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How Quiet

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How quiet is the spruce,
the wind twills
through the uppermost tier
of splayed leaves.
Now the song of a bird
like the squeaky lock
over a canoe's oar,
followed by startling chirps,
the sky pushing its clouds
like sailboats,
and I think, what kind of God
keeps himself secret
so that to find him out
we have to seek, as children do
for something like the beetle
scuttling between grass,
hidden in plain sight.

Poem copyright ©2013 by Judith Harris, “How Quiet,” from Night Garden, (Tiger Bark Press, 2013). Poem reprinted by permission of Judith Harris and the publisher.
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How Quiet

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  • Judith Harris was born in Washington DC and earned her BA from the University of Maryland, an MA in Creative Writing from Brown University, and a PhD in American literature from George Washington University. She has taught at George Washington, Catholic University, George Mason University, and American University, and has held residencies at VCCA and Frost Place. 
    Her collections of poetry include Night Garden (2013), The Bad Secret (2006), and Atonement (2000). Her highly acclaimed critical study Signifying Pain: Constructing and Healing the Self through Writing (2003) was published by SUNY Press, and her essays have been published in many journals, including Tikkun, College English, the Washingtonian, and the Chronicle of Associated Writing Programs. She has also contributed to the Graywolf anthologies Simply Lasting: Writers on Jane Kenyon (2005) and After Confession (2001).

    Her poems have appeared in the Nation, Slate, Ploughshares, the New Republic, the Atlantic and Narrative magazine, Southern Review, the American...

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