In Patagonia


“Depressing lovely” is as critical as my faculties are going to get tonight. I’ve pondered over Kate Clanchy’s poem very privately for a long time; it remains to me the most heart-breaking poem I’ve read, digested, dedicated to and believed in. I’ve long thought of explaining to you what it meant, but I think this time, i’ll resist meaning where meaning is almost certain to be reside, and resist love where it seems expected. Literature mostly seems blight and too empty of happy moments (“Happiness Writes White” goes the saying) and I know I’ve always been attracted to what is the purgatorial and the grey. ‘In Patagonia” changes no minds, inspires no turnaround, convinces no divorce and moves no heart already blocked, I slowly realized years later, but I think I’ll love it all the more for that…

I said perhaps Patagonia, and pictured
a peninsula, wide enough
for a couple of ladderback chairs
to wobble on at high tide. I thought

of us in breathless cold, facing
a horizon round as a coin, looped
in a cat’s cradle strung by gulls
from sea to sun. I planned to wait

till the waves had bored themselves
to sleep, till the last clinging barnacles,
growing worried in the hush, had
paddled off in tiny coracles, till

those restless birds, your actor’s hands,
had dropped slack into your lap,
until you’d turned, at last, to me.
When I spoke of Patagonia, I meant

skies all empty aching blue. I meant
years. I meant all of them with you.

–Kate Clanchy


2 Responses to “In Patagonia”

  1. I totally ❤ your blog! 😀 We’ll miss you when you leave AHS though…….. 😦

  2. Thanks Denise, all the best for your exam results 😉 I really like the cool people in your class…

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