a dream metaphysical
a child, that’s what I felt like, in a conversation with traherne in his study, talking about school, thrashings and nostalgia, the bible’s shortest verse, he thought, was jesus’ reaction to the child chimney sweep, and ian dunn arrived for a drink, seemed to know thomas well, sometimes staying at the manse, quaffing, while thomas talked about angels, and then dunn turning things on their heads, sin as salvation, for instance, and sobriety as the root of idiocy, and thomas laughing, slapping the reading desk with his hand, until the skull jumped, and him saying he’d like to be buried right there, beneath the desk, but first he’d like a drink, but ian was reciting marvell, and suddenly he was gone, with the skull under his arm, and I left as well, falling from the sky.
|Photo by Xan Shian|
The poems in Songen move like swifts. They alight, but only briefly, before their smooth lifts, and hair-trigger turns take us places we had not expected to go. Each poem, one sentence long and separated by commas, tracks the movement of the mind. Occasionally using words and phrases from Middle English and Low German, the poems touch on musical influences, the changes in language over the centuries and on the dissolutions, dilemmas and inevitabilities of old age. A beautiful body of work, the poet at his finest.
Arrived March 2018.
April 25, Edmonton Poetry Festival, Truth Tellers, 7:30 pm
May 15, Victoria, Munro’s Books with Eve Joseph, 7 pm
May 31, Salt Spring Island Library with Eve Jospeh, 7 pm
June 28, Vancouver, Twisted Poets Series at Cottage Bistro, with Eve Joseph, 7pm
Purchases: From the Mother Tongue Publishing website or at your local bookstore. $19.95.
Alighting, but only briefly.
The copyrights of all poems included in the series remain with their authors, and are reprinted with the permission of the publishers.