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Two Poems by Roo Borson


Poet's Choice

By Robert Hass
November 8, 1998

The Toronto poet Roo Borson was born in California but has lived her adult life in Canada and publishes her books there. They are not easily available in American bookstores, though she's become one of the best-known Canadian poets of her generation. She's a clear writer, clear-minded, with a dark and musical imagination. I look forward to each of her books. Her latest, "Intent, or the Weight of the World," is published by McClelland and Stewart in Toronto. Ask your local bookstore to order it:


One night goes on longer than the rest, never so long,
whiles away. Then dawn
Goodbye, insects. Hollow casings on the windowsill,
a dainty leg among the spice jars.
Goodbye, marigolds, the earth will not wait for you.
Trains hurtle by at the edge of cities,
the taste of bourbon, a mouthful of leaves.
Above everyone's dining-table, a chandelier burns.
Now the luxurious old wine can be uncorked,
the slicing of meat and bread, uncorked,
and the black pane of life goes on.

And here's one, a quick notation for the end of daylight savings:

2 A.M.

2 A.M., and the clocks have been turned
one hour backwards. Summer's gone,
like rage or pleasure, the
possum we caught rolling,
drunk on garbage,
over the fence one morning,

and now the rain:
a glimpse, sometimes,
as of a second chance – not fully fallen into sleep,
to be awakened.

From "Night Walk: Selected Poems" (Oxford University Press, Toronto, 1994 ) and "Water Memory" (McClelland & Stewart, Toronto, 1996). Reprinted by permission of the author.

Robert Hass, former U.S. poet laureate, is the author, most recently, of the collection "Sun Under Wood."

© Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

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