Prospect of the Interior

· Poems · ,

by Scott Cairns

A little daunting, these periodic
incursions into what is, after all,
merely suspected territory.

One can determine nothing from the low
and, I’m afraid, compromised perspective
of the ship, save that the greenery is thick,

and that the shoreline is, in the insufficient
light of morning and evening, frequently
obscured by an unsettling layer of mist.

If there are inhabitants, they’ve chosen
not to show themselves. Either they fear us,
or they prefer ambush to open threat.

We’d not approach the interior at all
except for the recurrent, nagging doubts
about the seaworthiness of our craft.

So, as a matter of curse, necessity
mothers us into taking stock of our
provisions, setting out in trembling parties

of one, trusting the current, the leaky
coracle, the allocated oar.


From Compass of Affection: Poems New and Selected by Scott Cairns. Copyright ©2006 by Scott Cairns. Reprinted by permission of Paraclete Press.

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