On the Disadvantages of Central Heating

Amy Clampitt

cold nights on the farm, a sock-shod
stove-warmed flatiron slid under
the covers, mornings a damascene-
sealed bizarrerie of fernwork
        decades ago now
waking in northwest London, tea
brought up steaming, a Peak Frean
biscuit alongside to be nibbled
as blue gas leaps up singing
        decades ago now
damp sheets in Dorset, fog-hung
habitat of bronchitis, of long
hot soaks in the bathtub, of nothing
quite drying out till next summer:
        delicious to think of
hassocks pulled in close, toasting-
forks held to coal-glow, strong-minded
small boys and big eager sheepdogs
muscling in on bookish profundities
        now quite forgotten
the farmhouse long sold, old friends
dead or lost track of, what's salvaged
is this vivid diminuendo, unfogged
by mere affect, the perishing residue
        of pure sensation
From The Collected Poems of Amy Clampitt, published by Alfred A. Knopf. Copyright © 1997. Used with permission from the Estate of Amy Clampitt.

Poems by This Author

A Hedge of Rubber Trees by Amy Clampitt
The West Village by then was changing; before long
A Hermit Thrush by Amy Clampitt
Nothing's certain. Crossing, on this longest day,
A Silence by Amy Clampitt
past parentage or gender
Beach Glass by Amy Clampitt
While you walk the water's edge,
Easter Morning by Amy Clampitt
a stone at dawn
Exmoor by Amy Clampitt
Lost aboard the roll of Kodac-
Fog by Amy Clampitt
A vagueness comes over everything,
Nothing Stays Put by Amy Clampitt
The strange and wonderful are too much with us.
Salvage by Amy Clampitt
Daily the cortege of crumpled
Syrinx by Amy Clampitt
Like the foghorn that's all lung,
The Sun Underfoot Among the Sundews by Amy Clampitt
An ingenuity too astonishing
Vacant Lot with Pokeweed by Amy Clampitt
Tufts, follicles, grubstake

Further Reading

Poems About Home
9773 Comanche Ave.
by David Trinidad
Notebook of a Return to the Native Land [excerpt]
by Aimé Césaire
by Michael Cirelli
by Naomi Shihab Nye
by Marilyn Nelson
Evangelize Your Love
by Jillian Weise
Fishing on the Susquehanna in July
by Billy Collins
He Foretells His Passing
by F. D. Reeve
Home is so Sad
by Philip Larkin
My House, I Say
by Robert Louis Stevenson
Opus 80
by Arthur Davison Ficke
by Jane Kenyon
by Stuart Dischell
Psalm of Home Redux
by David Lee
by Andrew Hudgins
by Shira Dentz
Te Deum
by Charles Reznikoff
The Bedroom
by Paula Bohince
The Cabbage
by Ruth Stone
The Lake Isle of Innisfree
by W. B. Yeats
This Is Just To Say
by William Carlos Williams
Untitled [I grew up in North Adams]
by Brenda Iijima
Wonder Cabinet
by Tina Chang