Saturday, February 3, 2018

Winter Solstice - The Cathedral, a poem from my chapbook

Winter Solstice - The Cathedral

It is the year's dark, when memories
arrive, opening to swarms
of swallows above ancient fields,
vines strung among the corn, sheep
belling an ancient Roman bath.

Dry sun anoints a pear tree,
my father's last denizen
which new owners soon will fell.

It is the year's dark.

From the dome, a turquoise
eye regards us. Our famil's spire
has crumpled, heaving up
ghosts who flit here like shy bats.

There's my uncle, impish and cancer-ridden.
Our tiny aunt in blue pillbox--her daughters
soon will join her, sending spirals
of laughter to incite the higher-ups.

My mother's dog who stopped
her demented barking--
poor beast, she went gladly
to the earth, mound

of collar and bone,
reminder of the exoskeletons
we once were.

My two grandmothers, with tiny wings,
flutter eagerly toward higher warmth,
while their husbands, below, still swirl
in necessary lubricant,

becoming ready to glide
toward the celestial realm,
this haven for lost souls,
half-living, half-returned

through the shill,
darkening air.

(From The Heart Beat of Wings, copyright 2017, Red Bird Chapbooks)

Monday, January 15, 2018



This is the cover of my beautiful new chapbook of poems, published by Red Bird Chapbooks in St. Paul. The book has been in the world for about six months. Slowly it's found readers or I've read from it to various audiences. Now, a poet friend, Margaret Hasse, has written a stunning review. I am dazzled and deeply grateful.

Margaret begins: "I am writing a fan letter to you for The Heart Beat of Wings. It is a very beautiful book with astonishing connections, images, turns of phrase.

"The voice in the poems is reflective, grateful, curious, and quiet. Each of the poems grows large, like a small bird that opens its great wings of flight.

"The book's tone, like life, is a mingling of somberness and bright new awareness and understanding. I liked the contrast between the black blood of the inner body and the red blood when air finds it. The raspberry poem is sensuous and hinted in both a quick reference and the color of the berry toward other poems in the book where the subject of heart-health is more direct.

"The way the 22 poems in the chapbook work together is extremely satisfying. The themes intertwine as in a piece of classical music: homing, where the heart is and how the heart is hurt (literally and figuratively), spirits that fly, birds that fly, a narrator at home and with her ancestors in Italy. The holiness of happy and sad occasions in the cathedral. Death and presence after death of the father, the mother.

"The style is beautiful--airy, yet concrete, rich with images and unusual turns. I liked the slim shift many of the poems are dressed in. The short lines showed off the spare beauty of the language. In the epithalamium, "o my dears," was a perfect call to those being wed, but also to us, the readers. I felt, as a reader, dear to Margot's intimate, confiding voice throughout the book.

"Some of the many delightful things and lines: birds! and more birds! Snow geese, pigeons, redwings, doves, finch, jay; the mother swimming away in water and in death; the hand of the father like a hand broken off a Roman sculpture; the unc fly; "it takes only one hillside/turning its muscled/side to gold," "its spill of joy"; gold and golden--and many more."

What author wouldn't love such a rich panoply of references and appreciation. Thank you a thousand times, dear Margaret Hasse.

To order a copy of the book directly from the publisher use this link:

https://www.redbirdchapbooks.com/content/heart-beat-wings