Sarah Anna Paden – Five Poems


Canyon Almanac

Stall of blue fog
Faces off the sun
Thoughts, like WIND
The tree will not be still
Morning’s soft ridge
Cloud-bent and broken
Brushes the clear moon canyon
The creek is full
Heel to your best intentions
Hell to your best intentions
Fog passes
Long white petticoat
Wedding on the horizon

From fog, after Arvo Pärt’s r Alina


From fog

Your footsteps

Wander and stay

Without memory

Home far away

You wade

The paste of day

At your ankles

The night

On your knees

You wished for nothing

And nothing came

Many, tiny

Drops of rain

I write with my seatbelt on,

the day is bold about me.
The damp rises and sways

from these fields,
past my window like no night.

Say, there is time, about to
crest like the sun’s crown;

that bird, and my brow, lift.
If a word comes by an image

to exclaim, I labor with it
and stain my page.

Field composites: I

“The grass stoops not, she treads on it so light.” — Shakespeare

Petals ‘round
poke of pollen
rake of grass
bells, her skirts
she ankles past

Iris-eyed, the earth up-muddles.
Her footprint upon the interstitial
nothing light there but the looking

The exterior the aureole the repercussions
one sound one sound one sound
no one


livery of light and the glinting of
leaves   new green and shelter
your cheeks and eyes
rise proud from the shores of bone
and soften —
like you  I am suffused and calmed
with pulsation —
in the looking in you
the world, as it must
            before us
in the looking in you
                        gather song like a seamstress
                        and sacrifice   nothing;
in the looking in you
blooms are beads
and the long-standing pines   headdress.
in the looking in you
the mystery of flight lifts the air about us
like a blanket loft —
            gold large and           
            silver shone,
alive   after all
with you,
                        waiting upon me with


Author’s Statement on Beauty

Everyone has a different take on Beauty, which is no doubt the wealth of this journal. When I think of Beauty, it is the energy of form that comes to mind — a certain glimmer at the edges of perception. There is pleasure there, but also true insight, alongside the pride of subjectivity. When I think of Beauty, the idea of exchange comes to mind, something that happens between entities: between the poet and the poem, between the poem and the reader or audience and, thus, between poet and public. This is social aesthetics, born of shared attention and valuation. Subjectivity and intersubjectivity are both within the bounds of Beauty. 


Sarah Anna Paden is a musician and poet living with her family in Belmont, CA. She is a graduate of music programs at Smith College and Princeton University. Her work has been featured in Open Minds Quarterly.