©Elisa Salasin, 2009

At Freemantle’s Shipwreck Museum
half a reconstructed hull fills
the dim exhibition hall, timbers

darkened by centuries of brine
beside a salvaged cannon’s
verdigris.  What was lost

to the Dutch merchant fleet
is resurrected here—coin
of the realm, minted in both

New World and Old,
hundreds of brittle clay
tobacco pipes still intact

despite it all, ceramic flasks
for carrying wine to sea,
pitch for caulking, blocks

of raw chalk, a solitary pen
that must have been the captain’s,
and a touchstone for testing

precious metals, the stuff
of commerce and plunder,
this timeless desire

to tell what’s real.

©Christian Knoeller, 2010

Christian Knoeller (BAWP ’91), Associate Professor of English Education at Purdue University, will be offering a graduate seminar spring semester on teaching writing in middle and secondary schools.  His recently published poetry has just been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and a new article, “Landscape and Language,” exploring BOOKS AND ISLANDS IN OJIBWE COUNTRY by Louise Erdrich is forthcoming in INTERDISCIPLINARY STUDIES IN LITERATURE AND THE ENVIRONMENT.

One Response to “Touchstone by Christian Knoeller”

  1. Bruce Greene Says:

    Stunning poem. Loved the last few lines. I hope to see more of your poetry in these pages.

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