Friday, January 16, 2015

Joyce Sutphen: "Seeing, Up Close Again"

Like Gulliver in Brobdingnag, I
swooned to see again the immense
detail of the ordinary world:

the rippling surface of a fingernail,
exactly the color of a horn erupting
through the swirled-hair head of a calf,

the flayed landscape of skin where
catgut, pressing into the finger's
tip, made a ragged canyon,

the beaten sheen of a silver ring
around the pillared finger,
dark-tarnished runes

in its patterned crevices.
Nothing was too tiny for
my hungry eye,

nothing too finely etched.
I had grown weary of smooth
honed perfection, perceived from

a distance. Now, even the smallest
stroke of ink on paper was
deep enough to fold me in.

"Seeing, Up Close Again" by Joyce Sutphen, from Naming the Stars: Poems (Holy Cow! Press, 2004). Text as published on Caffeine Destiny: an online magazine.

Art credit: "Gulliver in Brobdingnag" [kissing the hand of the Queen of Brobdingnagia], watercolor illustration from the 1909 edition of Swift's Gulliver's Travels, painted by Arthur Rackham.


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