The Poetry of Ellin Anderson


Ellin Anderson

I remember the clouds parting ways
dissolving cloud from cloud, and the peninsular
light that fell like clear wine
into the elms that caught the light for us and strained it through the spades of their leaves, dressing the light in crystals of lost rain

I remember how the air seemed to siphon water
up from the land, as a tree draws water
up through the green tree-heart at its core
and into the flickering sieve of its crown
to feed the wide green tree-soul

And I recall how the light's quicksilver
hushed all sound in the pasture, bathing us from two sides
and would not let us go;
how the sky was sponged with grey and pearl
and how our skirts swept the grass, parting the grass gently
as a fluted hull parts waves

  And our hems were dark, and our silk shoes,
and the wooden pattens we wore did no good, for a nectar of dew
had carried June's sweetness in from the land
and spread it over the grass

And under your silk hood, and on my skin
I could see and I could feel
the marks where the locket with Father's likeness had pressed
into my cheek and your breast

And as we crossed the high pasture with arms laced
Father's ships crossed the breadth of the Sound and the Bay
weaving the same crossing and uncrossing paths
as your stitching hand, and my little ciphering hand

And I could hear the sad, sweet creak and strain of ship's timbers
that one day would carry you far away
leaving me to watch the vessel go
and ask the bare sand, Why should things be so?
while Father cried, Now I am poor

And lastly, I remember how
as the great ships drew apart into their own close hoods of silence
holding geometries of steady lights
that wheeled away like the star-beasts you showed me:
dragon, lion, ram, and bear —

“The light pours through us,” you said.
“We are our own
Governing stars,
And, by the source of this clear light,
What instruments we are!”

© 2013 by Ellin Anderson. All rights reserved.
No part of this work may be copied or used in any way
without written permission from the author.


St. Patrick's Day
Tiger and Blue Jewel

Winter's Hill
Maple-Key Song
November in Camelot

Wassail Song
The Rooster at Midsummer
Liberty Enlightens the People

The Leap
The Goldfinch
Three Bears
Song of the Lily
White Tree at Twilight
The Christmas Tree

Grand Bois du Nord
The Owl
Moth Summer
The Little God of Joy
Photographing the Moon
A Rabbit
Rose, Do You Know
The Two Pining Bachelors

The Harvest Chorus
The Maple Mask
Ghost Cardinal

The Little Heath-Rose
The Sorcerer's Apprentice
Song for the Harp

The Spinner
The Prayer of Cephalus
Circe and Ulysses
The Black Arts
Tristan and Isolde & Jupiter's Two Casks

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More Poems by Ellin Anderson

The Little Mermaid
Anne's Hearth