Friday, March 19, 2010


The Hundred Thousand Places (Carcanet Press, UK)

Thomas A Clark lives with his wife, the artist Laurie Clark, in the small fishing village of Pittenweem on the east coast of Scotland. His latest collection is a single poem, though I would submit it is a single poem gathered by almost 90 pitch perfect smaller poems all going in the same direction toward the earth. Tom's poems have the uncanny ability to show us the light of day and the light of ourselves all at once. Timeless.

once again

for the first time



if you stretch out

in the long grasses

your weight is distributed

over the headland

to rest as lightly

on the crushed grasses

as sky on sea


what you feel

you can contain

what you see

you will become


all the little knots

of anxiety and tension

slowly unravelling

of affection and disaffection

slowly unravelling

the dried grasses trembling

if you move


events will start

up from your feet


a stone from shade

carried for a mile

cool in the hand


birch sapling curving

slightly twisting

out from the slope

rising and turning

in what might

be called a gesture

if a gesture can be

prolonged indefinitely


a breeze

of small birds

moving through

birch leaves


you will have to go

all round it

to see it

have to stay

with it

to know it