David Robert Books




Ordering Information: Bookstores and Individuals


Course Adoption



Follow Us on Facebook

Copyright © 2000-   WordTech Communications, LLC

Privacy Policy

Site design: Skeleton

Sample Poems by Pamela Harrison

A Singular View

Because we are the flower
of some family, grown in rooms
where the afternoon light slides
over cracked linoleum and the arms
of battered chairs, where relatives
crowd in bearing cakes and pickles
and stay till the ashtrays overflow;

because context is everything,
residue of a past which by constant
rubbing makes our thighs hairless,
our hairlines recede, wears ruts
in our hearing, grooves in our nerves;
because it shapes our connections, rules
the grammar we must wrestle to enlarge;

and wherever it binds, where it twists
or bends our lives, there our words
echo the contours of our being,
the bones of a particular life
on which time works
to make a singular view—
not beautiful but true.


I grew up in a house where what was said
was so different from what was felt
it made me wall-eyed to string a meaning

between the two. Sometimes my eyes crossed,
and I groped all day through double vision—
like one of those tropical fish with eyes

so far apart they guard against two
discontiguous worlds at once. I learned early
some use words like octopi their ink.

I could tell something scuttled
out of view. Something much nastier
than the roiling cloud it blew.

It’s my nature to prefer an ugly truth
to delusion. The right word tunes my sense
like a telescopic sight: even face to face

with monsters, all that had been furtive
or confused resolves on the cross hairs
of some deep delight.


Somebody’s selling junk by the road,
tables piled with old records and toys,
patched clothes and chipped crockery.

Drawn to things with lids on inner space,
she goes straight for the bottles and boxes,
buys the blue Wedgwood biscuit jar,

porcelain, cracked from rim to rim through
the cheek of the bride. Buys the Chinese
water jug, its carved garden split,

through its middle an equatorial rift.
Taking her treasures home, she weights
her mantel with the tales they tell

of hard use, hard falls. Her eyes rise
to the mirror, and she wonders
what kind of person comes through unscathed.

Asbestos maiden.
Nothing of the char of love about her,
no smoke in her hair.

Her Soul’s Home

He wants her to follow him,
to quit the rut of local life.

He wants to sit so still, so bleached
by sunlight in a foreign field

wild creatures might creep from holes
to doze beside his boot.

She is almost ashamed to say
his dream is not what beckons her.

She has moved through moments of blue
transcendence and gasped

in fiery, unfamiliar air.
But that is not her element.
He is forever seeing through
the membrane of the world, reaching

toward his God as one might seek
some beautiful, elusive stone

through the sluicing surface of a stream.
She wants to share her own soul’s home,

show him the immediate world
is what she dreads and loves

and that she walks upon it
through confusions of joy and sorrow,

mazy, vegetative tangles and knotted connections.
Her God is the stone. And the stream. And the surface of the stream.