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Tom Clark: Seven poems


Hélas! My narcissi are stinky
after only two weeks: 2:52 a.m.
twenty one is it? degrees on the mercury ball
a serious shivering within the spiritual timbers
in the town named after the bishop
who argued away the existence of the material
why then doth it weigh so
(contra the hypostasis of the individual)
upon us all


Walking in the woods, I found the thread
of dread that led to the endarkened
clearing — as a flame
fibrillates in the leaves
around the edges of the trees
into which one fears to go — so courses through one
a thread
of light that flickers —
the factum
is the fatum —
9/22 AUTUMN BEGINS (7:05 P.M., EDT)
as evening falls


A cracked vase
never mended

if not regret
at least, at last.

Talk Gets Old

We have to do the best we can
That is our sacred human responsibility
Said Einstein to the gorilla
Who yawned and smiled patiently once again

The Shadows

There’s many a good tune played on an old fiddle
Said Samuel Butler to his shadow

The shadows of old men in entirely different centuries
Go ever with me now

After Wang Wei

Chilling down by the water
stopped to watch clouds drift
clouds drift clouds drift
bumped into mr. green
talked laughed forgot
it was time to go

Epitaph for Rent

My name was... oh, what’s the difference? I came
from... really, who cares where? Was born, raised, educated
no doubt, in some fashion... does this interest anybody?
And as to how I lived... we won’t go into that. At length,
I died. Here I lie. That’s the one relevant fact.

Tom Clark and family, Bolinas, 1971, photo by Gerard Malanga

Tom Clark and family, Bolinas, 1971, photo by Gerard Malanga

Tom Clark’s most recent poetry books are Threnody (Effing Press, 2006), and Light and Shade: New and Selected Poems (Coffee House Press, 2006). He lives in Berkeley, California.
You can read Tom Clark’s biography, a detailed bibliography, a statement on poetics and a list of live links to all his pieces in Jacket magazine here, at Jacket’s Author Notes page.

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