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About this poet

Patricia Hooper was born in Saginaw, Michigan. She received a BA and MA from the University of Michigan.

She is the author of four poetry collections, including Separate Flights (University of Tampa Press, 2016), which received the Anita Claire Sharf Award, and Other Lives (Elizabeth Street Press, 1984), which received the Norma Farber First Book Award from the Poetry Society of America. She is also the author of several children’s books.

Hooper lives in Gastonia, North Carolina.


Selected Bibliography

Separate Flights (University of Tampa Press, 2016)
Aristotle’s Garden (Bluestem Press, 2003)
At the Corner of the Eye (Michigan State University Press, 1997)
Other Lives (Elizabeth Street Press, 1984)

In the Clearing

After last night’s rain the woods
smell sensual—a mixture of leaves and musk.
The morels have disappeared, and soon I’ll come across
those yellow chanterelles, the kind they sell
in town at the farmers’ market. Once I saw
the Swedish woman who raises her own food
foraging for them, two blond boys
quarreling near the pickup, and the next morning
they were selling them from their stand beside the road.

Out here, among last year’s dead
leaves with the new shoots of spruces
poking through them, I’ve come to the place where light
brightens a glade of ferns and the log someone else
placed here—carved “B.W.”—where I sometimes sit
to listen to the birds. Today the sun is breaking through
the wet branches, revealing a clean sky,
brilliant, cerulean. Then, suddenly, a raft of scudding clouds

promising more rain. If it comes, I’ll read all afternoon—
Henry James, or maybe Eudora Welty’s
Delta Wedding, where so many characters
vie for attention I can never keep them straight.
Here, there’s no one else, no one to worry over
or argue with or love. Maybe the earth was meant
only for this: small comings and goings
on the forest floor, the understory astir
with its own secret life. If I sit still enough
among the damp trees, sometimes I see the world
without myself in it, and—it always surprises me—
nothing at all is lost.

Copyright © 2017 Patricia Hooper. Used with permission of the author. This poem originally appeared in The Southern Review, Spring 2017.

Copyright © 2017 Patricia Hooper. Used with permission of the author. This poem originally appeared in The Southern Review, Spring 2017.

Patricia Hooper

Patricia Hooper is the author of four poetry collections, including Separate Flights (University of Tampa Press, 2016) and Other Lives (Elizabeth Street Press, 1984).

by this poet

poem
When the woman in blue serge
held up the sun, my mother
opened the storm door, taking
the whole volume of S
into her hands. The sun
shown as a sun should,
and we sat down at the table
leafing through silks and ships,
saints and subtraction. We passed
Scotland and Spain, street-
cars and seeds and even
the Seven
poem

Near the path through the woods I’ve seen it:
a trail of white candles.

I could find it again, I could follow
its light deep into shadows.

Didn’t I stand there once? 
Didn’t I choose to go back

down the cleared path, the familiar?
Narcissus, you said. Wasn’t this

the flower whose sudden
poem
This morning a hawk plunges
straight for the squirrel at my feeder
and leaves only
its signature: blood on the snow.

All morning it circled the yard,
then dove, stunning itself
on the glass sky of my window,

and in minutes returned, braving
the thin, perilous channel
between hedgerow and house.
I was watching