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Poems brings all three books together for the first time, creating for American readers a wonderful introduction to Anne Michaels's poetry. Meditative and insightful, powerful and heart-moving, these are poems that, as Michael Ondaatje has written, "go way beyond games or fashion or politics . . . They represent the human being entire."
"I regret nothing but his suffering."
Wherever we cry,
it's far from home.
At Sandwich, our son pointed persistently to sea.
I followed his infant gaze,
expecting a bird or a boat but there was nothing.
as if he could see you on the horizon,
knew where you were exactly:
at the edge of the world.
You unloaded the ship at Lyttelton and repacked her:
"thirty-five dogs five tons of dog food fifteen ponies thirty-two tons of pony fodder three motor-sledges four hundred and sixty tons of coal collapsible huts an acetylene plant thirty-five thousand cigars one guinea pig one fantail pigeon three rabbits one cat with its own hammock, blanket and pillow one hundred and sixty-two carcasses of mutton and an ice house."
Men returned from war without faces, with noses lost discretely as antique statues.
accurately as if eaten by frostbite.
In clay I shaped their flesh, sometimes retrieving a likeness from photographs.
Then the surgeons copied nose, ears, jaw with molten wax and metal plates and horsehair stiches;
with borrowed cartilage,
from the soldiers' own ribs,
leftovers stored under the skin of the abdomen. I held the men down until the morphia slid into them.
I was only sick afterwards.
Working the clay, I remembered mornings in Rodin's studio,
his drawfuls of tiny hands and feet,
like a mechanic's tool box.
I imagined my mother in her blindness before she died, touching my face,
as if she still could build me with her body,.
At night, in the studio
I took your face in my hands and your fine arms and long legs, your small waist,
and loved you into stone.
The men returned from France to Ellerman's Hospital.
Their courage was beautiful.
I understood the work at once:
To use scar tissue to advantage.
To construct through art,
one's face to the world.
Sculpt what's missing.
You reached furthest south,
then you went futher.
In neither of those forsaken places did you forsake us.
At Lyttelton the hills unrolled,
a Japanese scroll painting;
we opened the landscape with our bare feet.
So much leaned by observation.
We took in brainfuls of New Zealand air on the blue climb over the falls.
Our last night together we slept not in the big house but in the Kinsey's garden.
Belonging only to each other.
Guests of the earth.
Mid sea, a month our of range of the wireless;
on my way to you. Floating between landfalls,
between one hemisphere and another.
Between the words
"wife" and "widow."
Newspapers, politicians scavenged your journals.
But your words never lost their way.
We mourn in a place no one knows;
it's right that our grief be unseen.
I love you as if you'll return after years of absence.
As if we'd invented moonlight.
Still I dream of your arrival.
|Lake of Two Rivers||7|
|The Day of Jack Chambers||15|
|A Height of Years||20|
|Depth of Field||26|
|Women on a Beach||32|
|Pushed into the Dark||33|
|Rain Makes Its Own Night||36|
|Letters from Martha||37|
|The Weight of Oranges||39|
|Words for the Body||45|
|A Lesson from the Earth||76|
|Pillar of Fire||98|
|On the Terrace||107|
|What the Light Teaches||121|
|Land in Sight||144|
|There Is No City That Does Not Dream||150|
|Last Night's Moon||151|
|The Passionate World||158|
|The Second Search||163|
|The Hooded Hawk||173|
|A Note on the Text||193|
Posted December 26, 2013
Posted September 14, 2003
Anne Michaels wields her poems like a sword of moonlight. She teaches your eyes to listen and your ears to speak. She redefines love as she buries your heart into the Earth then calls it forth as a song. She walks into the past and creates a future of dreams.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.