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By William C. Clarke

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Scars in constellation call forth wars, spears, birds from imagination’s shadowed depths, endless sublime forms flowing out of stone, beings conceived as you are gazed upon. Over you the ant people climb, clinging to conquer, to preserve by camera, finger on shutter, champagne at sunset, snapping at the unphotographable. Uluru, how deep do you go under the earth? For what do you wait to slough off this time of spectacle, to devour this foolish, this so unsacred hour? A Momentary Stay 37 ‘Poor land may be rich country’ — Aldo Leopold, ‘Country’, A Sand County Almanac, 1949 Poor land may be rich country, opulent with hints of life, a haiku instant when a snake’s skin glimmers, spans of weather, history’s palimpsest, whispering casuarinas casting plays of shade upon a boulder-shouldered shore, a place, momentarily a peace.

38 A Momentary Stay Biographical Note While pursuing an academic career in geography and anthropology in universities in the USA, Australia, Papua New Guinea, and Fiji, William Clarke sustained the love of reading and writing poetry that began in his childhood. His first published poems, written while he was an undergraduate, appeared in Occident, the literary journal of the University of California, Berkeley. He has since published occasional works in various journals, with A Momentary Stay being his first collection of poems.

A Momentary Stay 21 About the Solicitor (With a debt to John Ashbery) As solicitors go, he isn’t such a bad one and the process is in train with some attention. A modest advance. His vile prose and faulty commas carry sufficiently ahead the intention we seek: securing separateness from togetherness’s rotted hulk. Of course you have to be patient about the documents. For them to be finished, I mean. Expecting too much won’t work. I anticipate their tardiness, the unkempt lack of speed, noting the occasional bauble of progress.

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