This poem by Susanna Lee was the winner of the Cloudbank 17 Poetry Prize.
Water Elegy / Susannah Lee After Ryuichi Sakamoto North was the signature we inherited, not a blessing but a kinship with lamps illuminating the hollow wick of nightfall. The febrile night rising like steam from a croup kettle seeking to heal. We sanctioned the dark with fever & visions of light, the wheat fields and bobolinks nesting late into the harvest, a peony dropping its great globe of flower all at once. Heat became us. We understood this and chose to hoard it with prayers of mercy, as if earth could hold a very warm mantle of snow, as if the prayer wheel spun without touch or wind. Compass point that defines all others. North, when the river flood carries the yew and its roots downstream whole and expectant, and the rain soaked willow releases from the weight of abundance, keels and rises with the dark earth of its own loss, when the seas come to meet us, what sacred text will we safeguard? What echo in what clear vein will ping our pulsing song back to life?
Poets and writers in Cloudbank 17
Laura Isabela Amsel
Ronda Piszk Broatch
Deborah H. Doolittle
Ralph J. Long Jr.