Somewhere in Plummer’s Hollow,
a man sits clipping his nails
this morning. There

is snowfall, light as down.
Much further east, uncommon frost
recedes into the hills of Atok, Benguet,

studding the heads of cabbages,
stalks of wild grass, flowers.
Wasn’t it there

conquistadors sought
the fabled orange tree that flew or fell
from El Dorado? Under the earth

are jars of ore and silver.
Little flotillas of creased paper
go down the creek. Sometimes

it seems the past might never
have happened. But even here
the ends of threads are gathered;

the lines on the horizon draw
this world into the other one.
And back and forth the shuttle goes.

Luisa A. Igloria

In response to today’s Morning Porch entry. Atok, Benguet is a mountainous municipality in western Luzon northeast of Baguio City, where Luisa grew up. Due to the elevation, occasional frosts occur, with devastating effects on vegetable growers.

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Poet Luisa A. Igloria (Poetry Foundation web page, author webpage ) is the winner of the 2015 Resurgence Prize (UK), the world’s first major award for ecopoetry, selected by former UK poet laureate Sir Andrew Motion, Alice Oswald, and Jo Shapcott. She is the author of What is Left of Wings, I Ask (2018 Center for the Book Arts Letterpress Chapbook Prize, selected by Natasha Trethewey); Bright as Mirrors Left in the Grass (Kudzu House Press eChapbook selection for Spring 2015), Ode to the Heart Smaller than a Pencil Eraser (Utah State University Press, 2014 May Swenson Prize), Night Willow (Phoenicia Publishing, 2014), The Saints of Streets (University of Santo Tomas Publishing House, 2013), Juan Luna’s Revolver (2009 Ernest Sandeen Prize, University of Notre Dame Press), and nine other books. She is a member of the core faculty of the MFA Creative Writing Program at Old Dominion University which she directed from 2009-2015. In 2018, she was the inaugural Glasgow Distinguished Writer in Residence at Washington and Lee University. When she isn’t writing, reading, or teaching, she cooks with her family, knits, hand-binds books, and listens to tango music.

3 Replies to “Vertices”

  1. Luisa’s poems are incredibly lovely – I feel as though I am reading in Spanish – without the struggle of translation. I hope you/she publish this marvelous dialogue in hard copy. Wishing you both a
    Happy and Creative New Year!

  2. Thank you for your kind words, Patricia. I’m just grateful that the poems come! Happy New Year to you too.


    On the reference to Atok — My eldest daughter alerted me to some of the photos that Baguio photographer Ompong Tan took on Jan 06 2011, of frost-covered produce and fields– according to friends in the Baguio-Benguet area, there have been record lows in temperature, such as have never really been seen before.

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