Refuge of Whirling Light

By Mary Beath



One bright winter afternoon along an empty New Mexico road, Mary Beath discovered these inexplicable words painted on a peeling wooden sign: Refuge of Whirling Light. That moment could stand for what she offers the reader: the pleasures and insights of the unexpected, the sensations of freedom and belonging that have always drawn her to wander the land alone.
"Beath's intensely visual story poems are utterly transporting, taking you out to longed-after landscapes and, at the exact same time, into the terrain of our hearts and souls. In the tradition of other keen-eyed, gutsy women who have bound themselves to the Southwest, Beath expresses for all of us - men and women - our desires for love and liberation, and how the land, every day, if we watch closely, offers us metaphors for both." - Susan J. Douglas, author of Where the Girls Are and The Mommy Myth
"Powered by a rigorously disciplined and analytical mind, these poems are never content to dwell in mere description but press on into far more complex interrogations of the world's nature, ecology, and systems of knowledge." - Craig Watson, author of True News and Free Will
"Although written about familiar places - Chaco Canyon, Abiquiu, the Four Corners - these poems chart a unique geography. This is the terrain of wind, singing frogs, storms, and changing light, of risk and silence and sexual desire, of that which is both wild and holy. I love the 'unbounded, gutsy weather' of these poems." - Anne Batterson, author of The Black Swan

From Refuge of Whirling Light

Sinking In

And we sank into language, finally,
like sinking into a warm sea, the ice dissolved,
gone as if it never had held the water
at bay. The surface closed over our
heads and we grew gills and
fins and our bodies began to flex in
tune with the swells and because we were
entrained with the rolling sea, the waves
of words, finally we meshed with each other,
and what we knew, however tentative
and provisional, found its way across the
gulf between us, across the bubbling
liquid language to infiltrate the
spaces between our shirts and skins,
between our skins and pulsing blood. . . .

Subjects: SouthwestPoetry

Contributor Bios
Mary Beath, an artist, naturalist, and writer, lives in Albuquerque.