A Clearing (by Louis Simpson)
Louis Simpson, The Owner of the House: New Collected Poems, 1940-2001 (Rochester, NY: BOA Editions, 2003). This poem is reproduced on the Griffin Prize Web Site (from a volume on the 2004 International Shortlist).
1I had come to Australia
2for ten weeks, as a guest of the state.
3My duties were light: to confer
4with students. They didn't want to--
5they came once or twice, that was all.
6One night someone knocked: a student
7with some poems she'd like me to see.
8The next day I observed her
9in the dining room, and went over.
10"I liked" I began to say .Àæ
11She lifted her hands, imploring me
12not to speak. All around her
13they were talking about the usual subjects,
14motorbikes and football.
15If it got around that she wrote poems .Àæ
16At night I would sit in my room
17reading, keeping a journal,
18and, with the aid of a map,
19trying to learn the positions
20of the southern constellations.
21I'd look at them on the map,The rest of the poem cannot be displayed due to copyright restrictions.
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