The Works of Elayne Clift
Elayne's poetry and prose has appeared in numerous literary journals and is the author of two poetry collections: Demons Dancing in My Head and Other People, Other Lands. Elayne is also the author of two collections of short fiction: Croning Tales and The Limits of Love.
All Poems © Elayne Clift
Conjuring Beauty In Unexpected Things 
Today, I saw a paper clip.
Really saw it, I mean,
with its beautifully aligned curves
turning perfectly at each end
like a toy train track,
and I thought, what an extraordinary invention!
Who conceived it? Who built the machines
that make them by the thousands
to ease prosaic moments in an ordinary life?
Then I saw a safety pin, and marveled at the ingenuity
of a tiny thing like that, small contribution perhaps,
but it too was perfectly designed, whimsical, practical,
crafted with care the way a woman knits a baby wrap.
I flipped on a light switch and nearly went mad
with the intrigue of it all,
innovation being such an awesome thing,
so you can imagine my frenzy when
later, I crossed a bridge -- a huge edifice
suspended by steel wires over a wide,
rapidly running river –
and marveled at a thing so efficiently beautiful,
arched like a rainbow to carry people from
one shore to another, defying nature perhaps,
but adding grandeur nonetheless,
with its girders and gargoyle carvings
amid others magical things.
There is beauty hiding everywhere.
There is magic in everything.
Knowing that, I am a child
with a secret too overwhelming to keep!
 Arundhati Roy in Writing the World on Globalization
Today, just after the fog had lifted,
And the mist had risen from the pond,
A starched and stately heron stood
At the edge of the water,
Like a faithful servant, ever vigilant
Against vague disruption.
Then, sensing voyeurs,
he spread his wide blue wings
and lifted from the ground
In graceful, silent flight,
With no intention of giving notice.
Later, a large V crossed the sky,
Like a bridal ribbon or a child’s streamer,
As autumn migrations continue,
In perfect formation,
To cut a swath through the heavens
Like a seamstress skillfully cutting her cloth.
And in a pasture, a calf fragile and new,
Lay utterly still while its mother
Licked the detritus of birth from her babe.
Some time later, wending our way home
Through tweeded foliage set alight
By a retiring sun, we saw
The baby calf and its mother again,
Joined now in the birthing field
By another cow laboring to drop her calf.
Heaving, lactating, eating the birth sac
Of her baby’s predecessor,
Her udder full to explosion,
The human menagerie, observing her confinement
As though she were Marie Antoinette,
Raised only the slightest interest.
Miraculously, at the close of day,
When the air and the humming birds
and the dragonflies no longer stir,
When bees nuzzle morning glory vines and
red garden flowers with lazy contentment,
a piebold deer and three wild turkey
grazed near the vegetable patch,
peaceful and unafraid.
Another splendid October day
has come to an end.
You floated then, all those years ago,
So snug and secure in an amniotic world
I could not know.
I only knew that I loved you,
Loved you with ferocious gentleness,
Unequivocally, bottomless, without reservation
As you inhabited that mysterious place,
When we had yet to meet.
Now, all these years later,
You float in another world
I cannot understand.
My body no longer nourishes and shields you,
Only my soul longs for you to be safe, secure,
And I know, painfully, that
I must lengthen the tether binding us still,
Lengthen it that you may find your way,
Floating, floating in a world so far away from mine.