This hour, while a child sleeps, before he wakes and those arcadian hours we make together— is it a continued arch, vaulted, open at both ends, is it a bending?—recommence. Yes, a bending. Light before you’d call it light bluing the sky. The old city below, a fidget toy’s string of buildings; doves calling and answering from ledges in the cavities; a low branching into divisions of memory; a hot afternoon’s lunch on the grounds of the museum, children at play in tethered circles; traffic and voices from the avenues carrying along the bright cold mornings on the lawns of big houses near the hotel; those who saw me home, whoever they were (though I know who they are), I also saw them home. I rode in their cars. I rode with the mother of the boy who lost all his words, she gave us a ride, the boys with their large eyes, sitting up high beside each other and smiling; the empty avenues of asphalt from the station to the new hospital to the corner we rounded and, past the galvanized fence, a school; the city narrows there; there is the river, suddenly; and then a spread of houses like a cowl on the head of the island; a journey whose meaning was as yet unknown though I know it sometimes; sheep on a patch of land at the convergence of two superhighways; no silence in the train; harvesters in orange and red slickers among the lettuces; swifts overhead; apricots flecked with rose; lichen spreading on corrugated iron; short-wave voices of those who are gone now remembered in the intonation of throwaway phrases; it should not follow but it follows; and are their fathers here; one of them is, white stubble where his razor didn’t pass that calls up his morning, the temperature of his cheek, and how luck befriended us then, and at this hour, which rests on a child’s sleeping.

Saskia Hamilton, “This Hour”

Saskia Hamilton is a well-known poet as well as an Associate Professor of English here at Barnard College.

And Ben Folds is in love with her.

Credit goes to my friend Flo for sharing this revelation with me.

Saskia Hamilton [Ben Folds]

I've only ever seen her name on the spine but that's enough. I want to make her mine! Never heard her voice, never seen her smile, but I'm in love with Saskia Hamilton! Well, shes a poet just like I want to be! But her passport alone is great poetry, and I'm in love with saskia Hamilton! Shes got more assonance than she knows what to do with. I am in love with Saskia Hamilton. She's got two sibilants no bilabial plosivs. Saskia Hamilton, Saskia Hamilton, yeah! Right! Saskia Hamilton, Saskia Hamilton! Saskia Saskia Saskia Saskia! Already got a girl, but she sounds real bad. I am in love with Saskia Hamilton. She's got alliterations and her surname's Dag. Oh! Saskia Hamilton! No hard consonents in my girl Saskia! Every single syllable sounds like Shakespeare! And I'm in love with Saskia! Gonna live with her and it will be harmonious! How could it not be when she's that euphonious? I'm gonna marry her and it'll be idyllic! And my teacher just told me she's dactylic! Saskia Hamilton, Saskia Hamilton! Yeah! Right! Saskia Hamilton, Saskia Hamilton! Saskia Saskia Saskia Saskia! (Saskia! Saskia Saskia Saskia Saskia! Hamilton!!!)

In The Corridor by Saskia Hamilton I passed through, I should have paused, there were a hundred doors. One opened. In there, someone whose name is not yet known to me lived out his middle years in simple terms, two chairs, one place laid for early breakfast, one plate with dry toast and butter softening. There his mind raced through writings he had memorized long ago while he tried to get hold of himself. Once in his youth he had studied with love in the corners of old paintings matrices of fields and towns, passages intricate and particular, wheat, columns, figures and ground, classically proportioned in lines that were meant to meet, eventually, at vanishing point. They continued, nevertheless; they troubled the eye. He collected sets of books printed in the nineteenth century, unyielding pages, memoirs of the poets, engravings of rurified private subjects in times of public sector unhappiness, frescoes of human oddity in gatefold printing. Why does it continue to chasten me, he says to no one. It does. It is a painful mistaking, this setting something down, saying aloud, “it is nothing yet” when he’d meant, not anything— but then nothing peered through the keyhole, nothing took possession. Snow on the roofs, snow in traces on the ground, passersby with wet trouser-cuffs looking to the pavement as the hill rises, light gathering in the river and gradually spreading.