“Three Ways of Looking at God”

Robin Robertson
Selected by Sheryl Cotleur

Sailing the Forest by Robert Robertson

I love the sense of buffeting by wind, birds, trees and some enigmatic power that leaves me feeling energized in ways that cannot be named.

—Sheryl Cotleur


Three Ways of Looking at God

1.

A claustrophobia of sand and stone: a walled heat.
The light bleaches and curves like a blade, isolates
the chirr of crickets, seed-pods detonating,
the valley waiting in a film of flame.
A bird finds an open channel in the air
and follows it without exertion to the branch.

2.

The sky is slashed like a sail. Night folds
over the shears, the dye, the docked tails.
We listen to the rumours of the valley:
goats’ voices, gear-changes, the stirring of dogs.
In the green light, lambs with rouged cheeks
skitter from their first communion, calling for home.

3.

Lightning flexes: a man chalked on a board, reeling,
exact, elementary, flawed; at each kick, birds flinch
and scatter from the white lawn.
The long trees bend to the grain of the gale,
streaming the dark valley like riverweed.
All night: thunder, torn leaves; a sheathing of wings.
 

Sailing the Forest by Robin Robertson

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Robin Robertson is from the northeast coast of Scotland. He has published five collections of poetry—most recently Sailing the Forest—and has received numerous accolades, including the Petrarca Prize, the E. M. Forster Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and all three Forward Prizes. In 2006 he published The Deleted World, a selection of English versions of poems by Tomas Tranströmer, and has since translated two plays by Euripides, Medea and The Bacchae.

Sheryl Cotleur is the Book Buyer at Copperfield’s Books.

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