Discarded Books at Flood Tide

Library: painting by Frank Moore, 1989, oil on canvas framed with found book assemblage

……………Where have we been?
The cracked-spine novels served us well
for weathering the winter or basking summers
on the beach.
……………But now they are a flood,
an epic tide of cobalt, azure, indigo
washing up scenes and stories
beside lost videotapes and disks—
the archive of some new sublime
vanishing at the horizon.

……………Where are we now?
An empty rowboat’s reached a mooring place,
bobbing on the sodden tide
under a sky whose colors we once knew
as cornflower, midnight, or blue yonder…

……………Where are we going?
The elements here emit
an eerie energy. Should we
take comfort in the current? Let Swift
and Austen tumble forward, talismans
for our guided journey.
……………The fire that surges
in the distance seems historical—
smoke rising from a vanquished town
that may or may not be our own.

Jane Satterfield

Jane Satterfield

Jane Satterfield is the recipient of awards in poetry from the National Endowment for the Arts, Bellingham Review, Ledbury Poetry Festival, Mslexia, and more. Her books of poetry are Her Familiars, Assignation at Vanishing Point, Shepherdess with an Automatic, and Apocalypse Mix, winner of the 2016 Autumn House Poetry Prize; her nonfiction includes the book Daughters of Empire: A Memoir of a Year in Britain and Beyond and recent essays in Ascent, Entropy, Hotel Amerika, and DIAGRAM. New poems may be found in Ecotone, Hopkins Review, Missouri Review, Orion, and more. She is married to poet Ned Balbo and lives in Baltimore.
Jane Satterfield

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Author: Jane Satterfield

Jane Satterfield is the recipient of awards in poetry from the National Endowment for the Arts, Bellingham Review, Ledbury Poetry Festival, Mslexia, and more. Her books of poetry are Her Familiars, Assignation at Vanishing Point, Shepherdess with an Automatic, and Apocalypse Mix, winner of the 2016 Autumn House Poetry Prize; her nonfiction includes the book Daughters of Empire: A Memoir of a Year in Britain and Beyond and recent essays in Ascent, Entropy, Hotel Amerika, and DIAGRAM. New poems may be found in Ecotone, Hopkins Review, Missouri Review, Orion, and more. She is married to poet Ned Balbo and lives in Baltimore.