Poetic Pause

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Runner-up from the poetry contest for the spring 2014 
Phi Kappa Phi Forum:

Faith: Becoming Aquatic

When the sun comes out in County Monaghan
    it’s the day to pick up pebbles, to examine
an opaque white stone speckled with jet.

    If the hill across the lake loses half
its trees, do not find yourself slipping
    into a slough of despond; if you believe

the addition of gates causes your mind a penned
    claustrophobia, don’t let it show.

When the sun emerges, floods out and stays,
    when the waters of Lake Annaghmakerrig reflect
teal-green, then azure, it’s time to review the birds

    of Ireland, repeating the words chestnut
tippets and black head plumes, to discover and say
    great crested grebe. When changes occur,

as they will, take to the valley and hills,
    finding expanses of pasture, the field.

Now do what you can to float with the dagger-
    billed grebe, be extravagant,

and feed, dive deep, kick yourself,
    wildly, down, and down.

by Patricia Clark

Patricia ClarkPatricia Clark is Poet-in-Residence and a Professor in the Department of Writing at Grand Valley State University, her Phi Kappa Phi chapter. Her fourth collection of poetry, Sunday Rising, was published last year by Michigan State University Press. Her earlier works, released by the same publisher, include She Walks into the Sea (2009), My Father on a Bicycle(2005), and North of Wondering (2003), and her poems have been featured on the websites Poetry Daily and Verse Daily. She was the 2005-07 Poet Laureate of Grand Rapids, Mich.; other awards include the Mississippi Review Poetry Prize and the Gwendolyn Brooks Prize. Clark earned degrees from University of Washington (B.A., economics), University of Montana (M.F.A., creative writing/poetry), and University of Houston (Ph.D., English). She was runner-up in the summer 2013 poetry contest for this magazine. Email her at clarkp@gvsu.edu.


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