Winter 2001


Joe Stanton


The boat is a thin line
of darkness that rises
above a rumor of dawn

on dark, dark waters.
The boat must make it through
jagged masses of cloud

and mountain.  As always
shadow could be everywhere
but for a certain glamour

at the heart where beat
the pagliacci,
the drumming clowns whose tears

are laughter, whose laughter
tears and gathers to the sea
that rises to fall, falls to rise.

It is the steady beat
that keeps the ship above
the waves, making light of all
that passes for darkness.

It is enough that the oars
beat against their shadows.
It is enough to get us
somewhere, anywhere.

Joseph Stanton's poems have appeared in Poetry, Poetry East, Harvard Review, and numerous other journals.  His latest book, Imaginary Museum: Poems on Art, was published in 1999 by Time Being Books.  He teaches art history and American studies at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa.



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