Amy Clampitt

A
Amy Clampitt
Gooseberry Fool
The gooseberry’s no doubt an oddity,
an outlaw or pariah even—thorny
and tart as any
kindergarten martinet, it can harbor
like a fernseed, on its leaves’ under-
side, bad news for pine trees,
whereas the spruce
resists the blister rust
it’s host to. That veiny Chinese
lantern, its stolid jelly
of a fruit, not only has
no aroma but is twice as tedious
as the wild strawberry’s sunburst
stem-end appendage: each one must
be between-nail-snipped at both extremities.
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Athena
Force of reason, who shut up the shrill
foul Furies in the dungeon of the Parthenon,
led whimpering to the cave they live in still,

beneath the rock your city foundered on:
who, equivocating, taught revenge to sing
(or seem to, or be about to) a kindlier tune:

mind that can make a scheme of anything—
a game, a grid, a system, a mere folder
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Dancers Exercising
Frame within frame, the evolving conversation
is dancelike, as though two could play
at improvising snowflakes’
six-feather-vaned evanescence,
no two ever alike. All process
and no arrival: the happier we are,
the less there is for memory to take hold of,
or—memory being so largely a predilection
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The Kingfisher
In a year the nightingales were said to be so loud
they drowned out slumber, and peafowl strolled screaming
beside the ruined nunnery, through the long evening
of a dazzled pub crawl, the halcyon color, portholed
by those eye-spots’ stunning tapestry, unsettled
the pastoral nightfall with amazements opening.

Months later, intermission in a pub on Fifty-fifth Street
found one of them still breathless, the other quizzical,
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