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“If attention is a kind of love, then Margaret B. Ingraham loves the Shenandoah landscape—the ‘waters/clucking softly on the rocks’ and the ‘pillar of cloud’ above. ‘It is all about light,’ she writes, and we are lucky indeed to bask in her mind’s light in these lush, meditative poems.” 

—Maggie Smith, author of Good Bones

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“What is the terrain that Margaret Ingraham explores in Exploring this Terrain? It ranges from the Blue Ridge Mountains to Pluto. The path crosses the trails of memory and illness, the natural world and disintegration, and various parts unseen. Yet it stays, as Margaret says near the end of the book, in the ‘secret places of my brokenness.’ It is the beautiful landscape of wonder, the uneven country of love, the difficult ground of faith.”
— Loren Graham, author of Places I was Dreaming

“There are no clear divisions here/ Where elevations gradually descend/ And range extends beyond sheer overlook;/ No easy ways to separate mere mists/ From Shenandoah’s dawn
/ Or drowsy warble from the vireo/ or doe from spotted fawn.”


“… now here, atop the great sand hill,/ I am drawn to wondering
/ how just a single fleck of glitter/ that moon casts on pitching waves/ can so perfectly resemble/ the last desperate twitch and jitter/ of one silent dying fish.”  


“Saturday I went out early, hoping to save/ my ailing garden from the clutch of drought,/ and focused as I was on the parched leaves/ and the browning grasses, I still heard/ the whirring of the hummingbird/ as he made his easy passes between
/ the limbs of maple and crab apple,


“Perspective shifts like the hills/ When the clouds move/ Each time she squeezes new oil/ From old tubes/ To rework definitions,/ Marks she makes/ In the studied space/ Between umbers/ 
Where shadows always fall back/ After vanished light.”


“Each time, she studies once again/ the subtle interplay of vision and of sight,/ remembers how she pondered even then/ what every turn of face might mean/ and just what might become of him/ when age had closed the shutter/ and the only place to look/ was in.”  


“Even as spring
/ snails across the pond/ I see the mallard stand
/ in the deepening hollow/ without a hen./ And I imagine/ when summer dries the meadow/ he alone will go/ to search another place/ 
to satisfy his twilight longings.”  


“It is all about light:/ 
the way it carries itself/ the way the distant stellar beams/ regardless of how slight/ refuse to take their cover/ in the heavy shroud of night/ 
the way even the smallest flame/ can push the darkness out.”  



For me, every poem is an act of exploration, a venture, even within the familiar, to find what is new and worthy of attention. The act of composing a poem is an opportunity to behold what is given and then to take firm hold of the gift that it is. In that act, I find meaning; that is, there comes for me — and I hope for the reader — a moment of revelation, of discovering the joy in the comely, the praise in a lament, the beauty in the broken, the novel in the familiar, and always the presence of the creator in the created. GO TO CREDO