ISSUE SEVEN
May 1999

R.T. Smith

R.T. Smith R.T. Smith’s most recent book is Trespasser (LSU, 96), with Split The Lark coming this year from Salmon, and Messenger coming in 2000 from LSU.  He has poems in Honest Ulsterman, Crab Orchard Review, Poetry Ireland Review and Poetry Wales.  He is the editor of Shenandoah.
House of Words    Click to hear this poem in RealAudio

    Knockeven, County Clare


Wind off the water
or sweeping down the stones,
a lunatic learning the uillean
pipes. Turf smolders
in the stove. Leave a knife
on the gate, the wind
will edge it keen. Set
a gray bird in the hedge—
by morning, sheer bone.
Yet a single word's ember
passed hand-to-hand can shear
winter in half or open
the tightest hive and shake
black frost from the comb.

 

 

Glossolalia    Click to hear this poem in RealAudio


The sky says grace,
never the same sound twice,
never the same shape.

Each flake is glory.
Every white sift
bears witness to the voice

behind the wind. I raise
my eyes to rejoice
in drift and flurry,

the feel of ice
and weather's caress.
So manna leads to trance,

then the journey
from idiom to praise
of the white abyss.

How splendid to trace
speech to its source,
to sing in tongues

and sway unbitter
and blessed, in bliss,
as snow delivers

what no one guessed:
the swirl of mercy,
the snarling "yes"

inside the story's story.       

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R.T. Smith: Poetry
Copyright 1999 The Cortland Review Issue SevenThe Cortland Review