poem index


Ellen Hinsey

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Ellen Hinsey is the author of Update on the Descent (Notre Dame University Press, 2009), The White Fire of Time (Wesleyan University Press, 2002), and Cities of Memory (Yale University Press, 1996). Her honors include a Lannan Foundation Award and the Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer’s Award, among others. She teaches at Skidmore College’s Paris program.

by this poet


Standing at the edge is the great Multitude.

They inch forward in their rags and hunger.
   Their movement along the ground lifts
   the sound of ancestral migrations.

They are carrying the dark water of need
   in their eyes; they are carrying the first
   vowels, the

There, in the air--traceless blue--arena of circuits 
      And saunters, some rise with difficulty

      'While others lift buoyant, tack of tail turned 
            Westward--take wide air under their keel,

And sprint, shoot and sail up to where, in invisible 
      Gyres they revolve tropical or northern