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This content was published: December 1, 2020. Phone numbers, email addresses, and other information may have changed.

Two Deep Breaths: Botany, Domestic Architecture, and the End of Days

Justin Rigamonti

A Weekly Poem to Lift Your Spirits, to Help You Catch Your Breath

As you may have seen in the President’s weekly message, our community is celebrating the single largest gift in PCC’s history, thanks to the estate of poet Carolyn Moore, a life-long educator who grew up in the Portland area. Carolyn was the author of five books of poetry, including “What Euclid’s Third Axiom Neglects to Mention About Circles”, which won the 2012 White Pine Press Poetry Prize. To celebrate Carolyn and her generous gift, which will give rise to the Carolyn Moore Writers House, here’s the final poem from her final collection— a poem to mark the end of 2020, a poem of learning to let the light shine through.

Botany, Domestic Architecture, and the End of Days

by Carolyn Moore

It comes to this: a camellia leaf lies
long on the ground in a fellowship of duff.
Larvae strip the leaf to an elegant theory
of itself. The bared veins, finer than wasp
antennae, cast their desiccated net
to the edge of their known world. Angels cease
dancing on heads of pins and forsake their census
to marvel at this tracery decay.

Likewise, the family house must cast off doors.
Drawers must pull out, flip over, and shed their hoards:
the tarnished baby spoon and sugar tongs,
half-used candles, lids to long-gone jars,
and schemes for leaf-miners to carry off
what never should be saved. When life is clutter,
the goal is rapture. The means? Ravish, devour.
All that remains will let through light at last.