February 2001

Stephen Knauth


Stephen Knauth Stephen Knauth is the author of The River I Know You By (FourWay Books, 1999) and four other collections of poetry. His work has appeared in North American Review, Prairie Schooner, Seneca Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, and Poetry Daily. He has held two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and two creative writing grants from the North Carolina Arts Council.
Pacolet    Click to hear in real audio

Above the river a river
of watery light flows
through leaves of blue tupelo

where the soul may bathe
and be refreshed, ready
to resume its work:

steering the body
through the world,
keeping the heart

from sinking,
and tipping,
now and then,

the spirit’s white ladder.



Night Letter    Click to hear in real audio

Sleep like the sea tide
arrives quietly at night,
unmaking sense.

The lilacs were black,
made of licorice,
of grease, lilac

or quince, dark,
mother’s voice
from the cellar,

sealed in a jar.
Imagine a room,
a room without trees.

Quiet murky light
of the womb. Father,
whom God could not

please, passes slowly
into view, cold faceless
moon of me. The others

follow, click, click,
like a machine being
loaded and set.

A house without sorrow,
built from the boards
of sorrow. Why

does night dissolve
the mansions we raise
with our facts?

Gray shells
left strewn in the mind
at dawn, delicate as ash,

whispering what?



Stephen Knauth: Poetry
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