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On the Ground

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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)

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

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On the Ground

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  • 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 anthology Joining Music with Reason: 34 Poets, British and American (2010).
     
    Hamilton’s poems often use repetition and pattern, as well as punctuation, to trace the passages and intersections of multiple points of view and states of consciousness. “A formal tone, which incorporates a measure of discipline, distance, or restraint, creates particular complications, and the irony of Saskia Hamilton’s poetry rests in how her language, superficially clean and direct, navigates them so ably,” noted Raymond McDaniel in the Boston Review....

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