Andrea Potos – Three Poems
Notes From Italy
The dimples in David’s knees,
the veins pulsing in his hands,
the flecks on Puccini’s waistcoat,
threadbare cloth of his piano seat.
All the small bicycles folded and leaning
outside shops, the laundry strung high in air
and wedged in between slats of tall green shutters.
The cool vastness of Santa Croce, bones
of Dante, Michelangelo, Galileo, the voice
of the Italian guide whispering to his close group,
how I closed my eyes to listen, words
I did not understand lulled me beyond sleep, near
where Giotto’s faded angel
frescoed onto the chapel wall
almost began to speak.
The Day Before The Late October Birthday Of John Keats
In a rush to leave this morning
I grabbed the Vintage Keats
I bought from the famous Paris bookshop
especially for its cover: a pale
woman with auburn hair swept into a bun, one lone
curl falling at her ear as she bows to read
the letter, surely from her lover the poet.
Around this woman, a meadow is pierced like a night
sky of bluebells, a million twilights of blue dreaming,
those same hues in the fabric of her gown, there in
the field of flowers where she dwells
with her quiet breathing, and shapes of beauty
so real and strong, so far away
from the pall of dark spirits.
Just as I’d gathered myself among my books–
a rent in the air
aswirl with robes
clouds of insistence billowing
everywhere above me:
There was something else I must do
with my life–
stalks of lilies in an angel’s hands held toward me–
stakes in the heart of my will.
Author’s Statement on Beauty
Though I cannot say for certain what beauty is, I know that it arrives as a recognition from within, a presence, an awe or quiet joy. Beauty can only make us better humans, especially when we remain actively receptive to it, as the great Keats was when he wrote to his friend: “. .. for I have learned to love the principle of beauty in all things.
Andrea Potos is the author of six poetry collections, including An Ink Like Early Twilight (Salmon Poetry), We Lit the Lamps Ourselves (Salmon Poetry), and Yaya’s Cloth (Iris Press). A chapbook from Iris Press is due out this summer, and another full-length collection from Salmon Poetry in 2018. She recently received the William Stafford Prize in Poetry, and has also received three Outstanding Achievement Awards from the Wisconsin Library Association.