They Lift Their Wings to Cry [NOOK Book]

Overview

Brooks Haxton’s poetry has celebrated for thirty years our troubled pleasures in the daily world. This new collection, titled after a meditation on the cry of the snowy tree cricket, gives us his most moving response to the ferocious beauty of nature and to the folly and magnificence of human undertakings.
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They Lift Their Wings to Cry

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Overview

Brooks Haxton’s poetry has celebrated for thirty years our troubled pleasures in the daily world. This new collection, titled after a meditation on the cry of the snowy tree cricket, gives us his most moving response to the ferocious beauty of nature and to the folly and magnificence of human undertakings.

In the opening poem, the poet comes home drunk without his key, collapses in the yard, and looks up to where, he says:
Whorls of a magnetic field
exfoliated under the solar wind,
so that the northern lights above me
trembled. No: that was the porch light
blurred by tears.

With this self-deprecating wit and tenderness toward human failings, these poems search through history into the wilderness of our origins, and through the self into the mysterious presences of people we love.

A master of moods—as when a poem of grief after the death of a friend becomes a sprightly litany of her favorite wildflowers—Haxton is a poet who summons essences of thought and feeling in a few words, creating both narratives and miniatures that are rich in possibility beyond the page.

ISAAC’S ROOM, EMPTY, 4 A.M.

From the dark tree at his window
blossoms battered by the rain
fell into the summer grass, white
horns, all spattered down the throat
with purple ink, while unseen birds,
with creaks and peeps
and whistles, started
the machinery of daybreak.


From the Hardcover edition.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Haxton's stripped-down, careful appreciations of flora, fauna and man-made things make him a reliable witness to what life gives and to what life takes away. Haxton's upstate New York locale gives him a good look at the harsh seasons, and at the beauty their procession brings: "berries/ of a bluebeard lily, blue as sapphires,/ blue with frost and poison." Haxton is capable of a fine wit: one poem pays comic homage to comic poet Kenneth Koch by imagining a fight between Rambo and Rimbaud. Usually, though, Haxton (Uproar) remains unadorned, thoughtful and sad. A poem called "Blast at the Attic Window" presents, "Inside a spinning cloud/ of stars, the mind/ in an intricate swirl of ice." Another, one of many about intimacy in advancing age, imagines what happens after "Her High School Flame Retires at 65 and Moves Back into His Childhood Home." It is not all downhill in this collection, nor is everything wintry: an unrhymed sonnet, lovely in its slight archaism, brings Haxton and his wife "Face to Face," as flattering "Sunlight under your eyebrow knits/ the iris into a bronzen veil."
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780307804341
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 9/25/2013
  • Sold by: Random House
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 96
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Brooks Haxton has published two book-length narrative poems, five other collections of poetry, and translations of Victor Hugo, Heraclitus, and selected poems from ancient Greece. He has received numerous awards, including fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation. He teaches in Syracuse University’s program in creative writing and at the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers, and lives with his family in Syracuse.


From the Hardcover edition.
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Read an Excerpt

MY FATHER'S SUITThe suit we chose was navy blue.He sold them, hundreds,which we helped to fit,our hands impersonal,adept, that signed the papers now,while someone dressed his bodyin the suit. Without cosmetics,in the viewing room, the facelooked green and uninhabited,lips wide and thickly set,no ghost of him, not sad,not funny, not one bitafraid-the freckle on the hand,hair, veins, what had been his,without him now, extraneous, inane,brow under my trembling right palmcool with an inhuman density,as though immovable, but not.SUNLIGHT AFTER WARM RAINBrow damped by the noonday,drops at the edge of his jawin coruscations, he stood stillin the shade of that same oakhe had climbed in another lifefor mistletoe his mother usedto liven their front door at solstice,that same oak where his fathernow lay under the drip line.GIFTAll our righteousnesses are as filthy rags;and we all do fade as a leaf-Isaiah 64:6After my mother's father died,she gave me his morocco Bible.I took it from her hand, and sawthe gold was worn away, the bindingscuffed and ragged, split below the spine,and inside, smudges where her father'sright hand gripped the bottom cornerpage by page, an old man waiting, not quitereading the words he had known by heartfor sixty years: our parents in the garden,naked, free from shame; the bitterness of labor;blood in the ground, still calling for God'scurse-his thumbprints fading after the flood,to darken again where God bids Moses smitethe rock, and then again in Psalms, in Matthewevery page. And where Paul speaks of thingsGod hath prepared, things promised them who wait,things not yet entered into the loving heart,below the margin of the verse, the paperis translucent with the oil and darkstill with the dirt of his right hand.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Table of Contents

Looking Up Past Midnight into the Spin of the Catalpa Blossoms 3

When I Came Awake 4

Bert, in Memory, and Herb Robert 5

The Cry of the Snowy Tree Cricket 8

Datura 10

Isaac's Room, Empty, 4 A.M. 11

My Father's Suit 12

Face to Face 13

Barefoot 14

Her High School Flame Retires at 65 and Moves Back into His Childhood Home 15

Letter from Syracuse 16

The Invention of a Written Word for God in Sumer 19

Bedroom Window Crusted Thick with Ice 20

Your Call from Ecuador 21

Knowledge 22

My Brain Still Worked, I Said 24

Worm Moon 25

Problem 26

Green Lakes State Park 27

Coal Barge on the Ohio 29

Blast at the Attic Window 30

Horace, Book III, Ode XXVI 31

All Clear: An Invitation 32

Kenneth Haxton, Quarterback, Third from Left 34

The Interpretation of Dreams 35

Shrine 38

Shipwreck: Last Thoughts of an Entomologist 39

February Thaw 40

Wait 41

Anent the Yellow Field, Fa-la 42

Where Things Were 43

Cookstove 45

Late Winter, Full Moon at the End of Euclid 46

Libba's Picture 47

Prospectus: In Lieu of the Mall Expansion 48

Consort at Bay Window 50

Gimme a Viskey 51

Consciousness: An Allegory 52

Sunlight After Warm Rain 53

Rodan & Rambo vs. Rimbaud & Rodin 54

Moths 58

Untitled 60

Storm 61

If I May 62

Screech-owl Pie 63

Pratt's Falls, NY 65

After, After, and Beyond 66

Breathless 67

Whereabouts Unknown 70

Bonfire 71

Blue Mountain 73

Song of the Indigo Bunting 74

Gift 76

Acknowledgments 77

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