Literary Arts Profile

The Arts > Literary > Brit Washburn

Brit Washburn

Brit Washburn says that for her, poetry has always been about “paying attention” to human experiences, the natural world, other artists; it’s about stepping away from the busyness of everyday life and noticing what’s going on externally and internally.  This doesn’t stop at writing—it’s evident in her peaceful and poised demeanor that she is a person who values the deeper things in life, like her three children and the home she’s created for herself in Charleston.  For Washburn, her poems are prayers; her attention to detail, a form of reverence.  Every line of her poetry reflects this awe of the simple beauty she observes in relationships and the world around her.

words: Nash Steele


If the Fog Lifts after painting (below) by Megan Aline

In the foreground, a field,
blond and brown but faint
as a bride’s long hair
beneath a veil, suggestive,
as is the sky, hovering low
above a small white house
in the middle distance,
awash in mist.

But if the fog were to lift,
the image would resolve:
the edges sharpen, the light distill,
and all would be revealed
for what it is: the field barren,
the house vacant and derelict,
the power lines powerless
to connect anyone with anything.

Yet as it lies, there is a softness—
as if the pastoral still existed, as if,
in the quiet of dusk or dawn,
someone was yawning, cupping
a warm mug in her palms, gazing out
at far-off mountains, humming
Copeland’s “Appalachian Spring”
in her head instead of Neil Young’s
“Bad Fog of Loneliness;” the children
in bed; the cupboards full, the landscape
virgin, and she herself still in love
with one good man who never left.

God bless fog then: the fog of the Grand
Banks, and of Point Reyes, of the Po Valley
and the Swiss Plateau, of London, of course,
and even the fog of war, which is, after all,
nothing more than a phrase to name
the inescapable uncertainty of one’s perspective,
no less the case in times of peace: the calm
deceptive, the heather teeming with locusts,
a storm approaching from the East.



When we finish, I lie still in the candle’s glow
and watch you sleep: your face relaxed,
your skin alight like honey in the sun,
your mouth more beautiful than I can comprehend.

In the evening’s perfect silence, your breath
deepens to the low roar they say
kept bears away from caves and somehow
makes me feel safe even now.

I slip away to make our dinner—brown rice
and vegetables sauteed with sesame, ginger,
lemongrass; green tea in a glass pot, mineral water
in mason jars, an amaryllis blooming on the table.

Earlier, we drove to see paintings
in the capitol, jerseys at a dairy in Bowman,
their udders full, their eyes clear
and content in the bleak January twilight.

Poets’ House South
107 Ashley Avenue

Posted in Literary on September 19, 2013 (Fall 2013) by admin.

Comments (0)

No comments yet