I recognize that I hunger for poetry – periodically I canvas new poetry books and the old on my shelves to be STRUCK – to be wakened – charged – re-membered – into some leaping alive sensibility awareness delight sorrow grief ecstasy – that the vividness and risk of well-made poems incite…
for me, anyway.
Thus, the Bolano. A beginning.
Thus, returning to Nooteboom, a certainty.
Thus, the new arrivals shelf – Wichita Public Library.
Bob Hicok, tested favorite, “new arrival,” Elegy Owed
something like recognition and instigation at once.
what poetry does.
and having no idea where to begin to share it with you
to commend to you
I’ll just offer the opening poem:
and the closer…
and to tell you that everything in between is every bit as good
and some even better….
Small white church at the edge of my yard.
A bell will ring in a few hours.
People who believe in eternity will sing.
I’ll hear an emotion resembling the sea from over a hill.
One time I sat with my back to the church to give their singing
to my spine, there’s a brown llama you can watch
while you do this in a field if you’d like to try.
I don’t think even calendars believe in eternity.
Beyond the church is a trail that leads to a bassinet in a tree.
Someone put it there when the oak and sky were young.
I’m afraid to climb the tree.
That I’ll find bones inside.
That they’ll be mine.
I want to be with my wife forever but not as we are.
She’ll become a bear, I a season: Kodiak, spring.
Part of loving bagpipes haunting the gloaming is knowing
the bloodsinging will stop.
Beyond the church I pulled a hammer from the river.
What were you building, I asked its rust, from water and without nails?
This is where I get self-conscious about language,
words are love affairs or séances or harpoons, there isn’t a sentence
that isn’t a plea.
This is where I don’t care that I’m half wrong when I say everything
is made entirely of light.
This is where my wife and I hold hands.
Over there is where our shadows do a better job.
– Bob Hicok, Elegy Owed