Published on Academy of American Poets (

Blue Vase

Because you like to sleep with curtains drawn,
        at dawn I rose and pulled the velvet tight.

You stirred, then set your hand back on my hip,
       the bed a ship in sleep’s doubled plunging 

wave on wave, until as though a lighthouse
      beam had crossed the room: the vase between

the windows suddenly ablaze, a spirit,
        seized, inside its amethyst blue gaze.  

What’s that? you said. A slip of light, untamed,
       had turned the vase into a crystal ball,

whose blue eye looked back at us, amazed, two
       sleepers startled in each other’s arms,
while day lapped at night’s extinguished edge,
            adrift between the past and future tense,
        a blue moon for an instant caught in its chipped
                 sapphire—love enduring, give or take.


Copyright © 2016 by Cynthia Zarin. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on January 13, 2016, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem

 “This poem is an actual transcription of an event, which is a bit unusual for me: a blue vase set between two windows refracted the morning light. And then, Hart Crane’s poem ‘Repose of Rivers,’ which I have always loved, in which the wind is ‘flaking sapphire,’ surfaced in the last lines; an example of the poem itself catching reflected light, as the vase did.”
Cynthia Zarin


Cynthia Zarin

Cynthia Zarin is the author of Orbit (Knopf, 2017) and The Ada Poems (Knopf, 2010). She teaches at Yale University and lives in New York City.

Date Published: 2016-01-13

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