Friday, March 8, 2013

New book of poems now available.

My eleventh collection of poetry, I Was Thinking of Beauty, is now available. My web site has information on how to purchase it online, from the publisher, or signed by me at no added cost for postage.

Here is a poem from the collection:

Ars Vitae
                                                                                                              --   for Ted Leeson

All I’ve said I made it up, including the Things that Really Happened. 
Outside my window now, above the autumn pond I’ve conjured, 
two dapper kingfishers start to flit as I dream them, 

and in morning fog the trees of October show bright because just now I’ve imagined
a sun so sharp it could make you bleed.   Once  –think of  the number!  
seven lithe otters led me and my brother

downstream as we two fished the mighty Missouri.  That’s a memory of  Montana,
which is “not a place,” as I’m reminded by a favorite western writer,
“but the name  of a place.”  There are dogs I’ve treasured, quick

and lost, and horses and songs, and people, living and gone, although in  fact
they may only be concocted from a life full of talk.  And yet whatever
I’ve talked about is fact.  It must be true

or else I only had some maps, I had no place.  Nor did I know
old woodsmen or their stories,  to choose an example, but only read
a book or two.  I had nothing.  I never knew

a soul, a thing.  I made up the eagle I saw today as he stooped to the neck
of a Canada goose.  I made up the goose, which collapsed at the river’s edge,
which I also devised.  She fell close by, as dead 

as if  I’d shot her myself as I paddled.  I intended to stop and watch that eagle, 
whose tail still showed dark stripes, which means I’d made him into a young one:   
I’d stop with an eye to beholding another dive

from a blighted elm that leaned at what I’d construed as just the proper angle.   
But I kept on moving northward, fabricating the umber and mauve
leaves that floated upriver, counter to reason,

beside my gliding wisp of canoe.  I invented the leaves so I could conceive
that backwash of eddy, and feel it move me like many of my visions,
including those of Things that Really Happened

as if my up were down, and my progress that fluent, easy, at least for moments.

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