The Poetic Line: AND

The line is the possibility of the sentence opening and closing 

like a valve, like a heart, like a voice, as time passes.


The line is all the other sentences we didn’t say and choices we didn’t make, hovering.


a            dog             stole                              along                                      mountain

that        phone        whispered                     beside                                      page

this         cloud          spread                           above                    all              sea

One         city             sat                                 below                   each           window

Another   woman       swam                             over                      any            day


The         horse      walked             across             the         field.        

          soft                                   sweetly

          dark                                   joyfully

         forgotten                           darkly

          violent                                fully

           lost                                     faintly

          loving                                 decidedly


Sometimes the line stops when and where the sentence stops.

This is how the world ends.

When the sentence ends at the end of the line the sentence is absolute. A world is created with its limits: its bounty and its waste. The line/sentence stakes a reality. Reality may be the point of departure from one world to another.

The world begins at a kitchen table. No matter what, we must eat to live.

                             Joy Harjo, Perhaps the World Ends Here

I am poisoned with the rage of song.

                             H.D. Orion’s Song


When the line allows the sentence to continue it is like the child storyteller, capturing her parents' attention by saying AND . . . .  There is more to come and there is another part and there is no end to my story unless I end it because it is only for a moment that I can hold back the sea to tell you this life, and to point to this one day, and this one sound and how other things were happening at the same time and you don’t want to miss any of this that I am telling you and I don’t want to miss you and me.


The line slows the sentence down. Something gives us pause as we pursue an end point, something we had not counted on.

I CAUGHT this morning morning’s minion, king-

 dom of daylight’s dauphin, dapple-dawn-drawn Falcon, in his riding

 Of the rolling level underneath him steady air, and striding

High there, how he rung upon the rein of a wimpling wing

In his ecstasy! then off, off forth on swing,       

 As a skate’s heel sweeps smooth on a bow-bend: the hurl and gliding

 Rebuffed the big wind. My heart in hiding

Stirred for a bird,—the achieve of; the mastery of the thing!

                    Gerard Manley Hopkins from The Windhover

The line is a breath, spoken across a breath and read in a breath. Is there another breath?


Write a two or five or ten line poem in which at least one sentence ends at the end of a line.

Brigid Yuknavitch