poem index

Wedding the Locksmith's Daughter

Robin Robertson

The slow-grained slide to embed the blade 
of the key is a sheathing,
a gliding on graphite, pushing inside
to find the ribs of the lock.

Sunk home, the true key slots to its matrix;
geared, tight-fitting, they turn
together, shooting the spring-lock,
throwing the bolt. Dactyls, iambics--

the clinch of words--the hidden couplings
in the cased machine. A chime of sound
on sound: the way the sung note snibs on meaning

and holds. The lines engage and marry now,
their bells are keeping time;
the church doors close and open underground.

From Slow Air by Robin Robertson. Copyright © 2003 by Robin Robertson. Reprinted by permission of Harcourt Trade Publishers. All rights reserved.

Robin Robertson

by this poet

poem

Still sleepwalking through her life,
I wrap her up
and we go through the snow that fell all night
and all through this Christmas morning:
her trainers barely denting the whitened lawn, her
two strides for every stride of mine.

Leaving her home
to the warmth of the house
I

poem
after Baudelaire
The men would sometimes try to catch one,
throwing a looped wire at the great white cross
that tracked their every turn, gliding over their deep
gulfs and bitter waves: the bright pacific albatross.

Now, with a cardboard sign around his neck, the king
of the