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About this Poem 

“One afternoon, I had taken off my glasses and was resting on a worn quilt when the threads of its seams entered a singular clarity and stillness.”
James Brasfield

Expleasure

         How time slowed when any thought     
     or apprehension of the next instant
             vanished (no obligation, then or later),

         how in that long moment, all at once,
     yet without surprise, how what was close
             was present in a sudden suspense,   

         as such things rarely exist
     as they did then, each apart from all,
             seen as it might be truly,

         and gave way to a pleasure
     that had long been missing,
             to expleasure, as if I were akin

          to the smallest things—ribs
      of a leaf, penny on a dresser—
              of a saving stillness, doubtless

          always here, just beyond
      the scrim of what calls us
             from that silent astonishment,

           the more so since the feeling
       dissolves with its presence of detail
                merging with a distant seeing,

           as when I walk through a room
       and nothing is equal there to the calm
                 from the simply seen.   
 

Copyright © 2015 by James Brasfield. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on May 15, 2015, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2015 by James Brasfield. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on May 15, 2015, by the Academy of American Poets.

James Brasfield

James Brasfield

James Brasfield is the author of Infinite Altars (Louisiana State University Press, 2016). He teaches at Penn State University and lives in State College, Pennsylvania.

by this poet

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Now cosmos in bloom and snow-in-summer
opening along the garden’s stone borders,

a moment toward a little good fortune,
water from the watering can,

to blossom, so natural, it seems, and still
the oldest blooms outside my door are flourishing

according to their seedtime. 
They

2
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A cortege of clouds’
shifting planes 

reflected on a river,
the current’s weave deepens,

yet motionless
the dramatization of

a fern unfolding,
light illuminating the air

for a moment’s threshold,
when time, where we stand,

corresponds to the day
held firm

2
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Radiant the delayed calmness,
—Do you feel it, I said. —Yes, you said,

of what only each can know,
kernel of radiance, the globo terrestre

of a water drop, not the passing adaptations
of canonical light, but seconds stilled—

our hearts beating through the moments—centuries