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Clifton Gorge
Julie L. Moore

There lives the dearest freshness deep down things . . . Gerard Manley Hopkins
Balsam floods the woods,
    swathing our senses
like moss swaddles roots and earth.
    Ferns flutter in the shadow
of the wind moving through,
    while we descend into the sanctuary
of the gorge like the sun lowers
    its long beams through the green
lattice of leaves above. We hope
    to hit bottom as the thrush
throws its deep voice across the crevasse.
    Where a woodpecker knocks on a door
of oak. And a lip of limestone loosens,
    tumbles down, greets us at the stream.
Which even now rips through rock,
    then pools its energy along the banks.
Where minnows animate
    the ruin, stirring the cup
brimming with revival, their small bodies
    flashes of hallelujah.
From the manuscript Scandal of Particularity.
This poem first appeared in the American Poetry Journal.
Used here with the author’s permission.

Julie L. Moore believes that writing poetry can be like a game, for it can manipulate language, satirize our clever, yet shallow, society, and even crack jokes. But that’s not why she jots notes in her moleskin while washing dishes, playing summer tourist, or trying to endure prolonged and painful illnesses. For her, it’s about saving a life: her own and--she hopes, if she's any good at it--someone else’s. Author of Slipping Out of Bloom (WordTech Editions) and Election Day (Finishing Line Press), Julie’s award-winning work has been published in numerous journals. Julie lives in Cedarville, Ohio; read more about her at


Post New Comment:
Another reflective and beautiful poem. Thank you, Julie
Posted 07/06/2012 09:46 AM
You brought me into your relfective life. Thanks.
Posted 07/05/2012 10:47 PM
Beautiful poem. The poem does justice to its epigraph.
Posted 07/05/2012 10:06 AM
Carol Hauer:
Outstanding use of words, conjuring up beautiful images. WOW. I am left breathless by your artistry.
Posted 07/05/2012 08:35 AM
Wonderful poem, Julie. Congratulations!
Posted 07/05/2012 08:34 AM
I hope you received my praise of your poem. It expresses what I feel. There is only one problem: I did not write it.
Posted 07/05/2012 07:42 AM
Lovely sounds. This poem begs to be read aloud.
Posted 07/05/2012 07:17 AM
Was it the wood thrush?
Posted 07/05/2012 06:44 AM

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