Writers' Corner

Eric Pankey

2005 Poetry

Author's Statement

The NEA support has given me the time and space to work on a new collection of poems which will be published in 2008. Instead of writing in stolen moments, I have had the privilege and luxury of taking time to refine my art and craft, to reflect upon the possibilities of that art and craft. I am deeply indebted to the NEA for its confidence in my poetry and for its continued support.

The Thousand Thistle Seeds

Ten years ago, I followed a lizard
           Through a grassy, ruined amphitheater,
Followed where it led:

           Quick as quicksilver,
But green, not silver.
           Mute as ore, the lizard darted,

Skimmed, froze,
           Shinnied, insinuated like flame,
A pinpoint of pulse and flash.

           The lizard knew
The Etruscan wall's cracks,
           The downspouts,

The stone that blunts the plow,
           The mortar's and stucco's flaws.
The lizard dwelt in a present

           That extends, elongates, thins
Into a filament of consumed air.
           I followed the lizard

From brick chink to olive grove,
           Poppies to straw,
To sand and loam.

           I knew, for a moment, the balance
Between the intimate and the infinite,
           A word and what it reckons.

The sun on the hilltop
           Flared upon the thousand thistle seeds,
The thousand virtues, the thousand minerals,

            The thousandth of a second
It takes the lizard to taste the moment
           And change course.