Creating connections through the arts and across cultures

“Atlantis–A Lost Sonnet” by Eavan Boland

My friend Stephanie Farrow, a marvelous poet in her own right, sent me this poem today, as one she enjoys. I thought you might enjoy it as well.

Atlantis—A Lost Sonnet
by Eavan Boland

How on earth did it happen, I used to wonder
that a whole city—arches, pillars, colonnades,
not to mention vehicles and animals—had all
one fine day gone under?

I mean, I said to myself, the world was small then.
Surely a great city must have been missed?
I miss our old city —

white pepper, white pudding, you and I meeting
under fanlights and low skies to go home in it. Maybe
what really happened is

this: the old fable-makers searched hard for a word
to convey that what is gone is gone forever and
never found it. And so, in the best traditions of

where we come from, they gave their sorrow a name
and drowned it.

Eavan Boland was born in Dublin, Ireland, in 1944, and educated in London, New York, and Dublin. She has taught at Trinity College, University College, and Bowdoin College, and was a member of the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa. Learn more at Poets.org.

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  1. No doubt Eavan lived in Atlantis at one point in her journey. I can sense the yearning to return to herself. Certainly you were there as well, a chef, preparing puddings and cranberry sauce, with white pepper and peaches. I live to taste your sweet treats,in words.

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