My Valparaiso by Clark Holtzman

My Valparaiso
Or, The Fish
. . . . . . . .—for Carlos, Camila, Claudia & Ryan at the Neruda house, Valparaiso, Chile

This Pacific could not be bluer
if we waved a wand, or
this snail’s shell more green
or more certain of its greenness.
This stair could not labor so sensibly
up the hill of the poet’s dream
or these windows carry us
farther to paradise.

A minute here passes
like the cargo ships on the bay,
eternally, at ease, like the cat
licking itself in strong sunlight
on the funky garden bench.
I am caught by it, a fish in time,
surprised by the hook, the sharp,
startling wound of happiness.

by Clark Holtzman

Editor’s Note: This poem calls to mind the intense imagery of Jack Gilbert’s work—emotion is a tricky narrative to tread, but the close of this poem steps carefully and well.


7 responses to “My Valparaiso by Clark Holtzman”

  1. Bruce Guernsey Avatar

    Terrific, and perfect, last image!

    1. Clark Holtzman Avatar
      Clark Holtzman

      Many thanks. I am only just discovering that the poem was published here . . . after all this time! Looks like the editors’ hiatus is well-deserved. They must have been swamped.

  2. Bob Bradshaw Avatar
    Bob Bradshaw


    1. Clark Holtzman Avatar
      Clark Holtzman

      That would be about the right word for the view from Neruda’s house.

  3. Tom Q. Avatar
    Tom Q.

    Beautiful! I know what you’re describing, and you do so exquisitely.

    1. Clark Holtzman Avatar
      Clark Holtzman

      Have you visited the Neruda house in Valparaiso? I have been fortunate to visit all three of his residences.

  4. […] Autumn Sky Poetry DAILY, February 10, 2017 — by Clark […]

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