Lynn Strongin, contemporary American poet & editor, has published
seven books (nine by late 2006) and is a recent Pushcart Prize nominee. Her work appears in numerous anthologies and journals,
both in print and on-line. Her anthology
The Sorrow Psalms: A Book of Twentieth Century
Elegy will be published June, 2006 by the University of Iowa Press.
Ms. Strongin's career in literature began in the early 1960's. You can find this
poet's full biography and additional work at her
(bio current as of December, 2005)
Browsing thru an album, Romanian photographs
Floating in a milk-blue dream into my past its pearls rifted
thru its arches its gypsy bands babushkas in skeletal bones
these dark-haired children, these Onion domes. . .
drifting on a world gone
I reach out, touch a cloud, part of that world ceramic, not porcelain: Pearled, cracked open:
Schoolrooms full of brash kids. I say the name Ploesti aloud & watch the oil refinery
the burn rolls backward, flesh unseamed:
I open eyes to ash & dust coating the limbs:
All ruckus & rucksack:
Somewhere, whatever road
however the weather-vane
there will be a testing grade up & up silver incline
between origin & destination.
My infirmity casts a shadow.
It cannot slip thru a loophole now. O shadow,
Soft coal trains go thru night on pastel paper furred as though a blotter
took them in.
Snow falling into the Hudson. We are talent & darkness
If you ride a bicycle you know when you're going uphill. All Court Green.
An eleven-thousand-ton train
you perceive the grade.
Say running coal cars out of Powder Basin.
The steepest grade takes breath away. The infirmity folds back in.
The lowest gives it back again. Engine's shadow is folded back into frame.
On a scale of 1 to 5
I'm at 3 in between:
A thin screen catches pulse & heartgraph:
reflection & real thing.
a bolt from the unknown
strikes a scene which mirrors Dickinson's engraving of heaven.
Headlights drill darkness
chips of light, like wood, burn open
into a halo like the infant's unclosed fontanel.
Something linear is draped across the landscape shimmering:
if it tries to move at all, it spills, it falls.
With too many cars
the train tears itself apart.
Waking, early morning, last of night
coal trains grow in length like a shadow elongating:
I contemplate, pray
drilling darkness: To bear great weight
yet not break in two:
chips of light. Bleak's heart torn open:
He thought he knew it all, understood it all:
Now, what does Peter Wise say
to broken vows?
To owls that hoot their eyes unclosed?
I am your soul, the winsome stranger (Louise Gluck, The New Yorker, October 3, 2005 Fugue)
Peter is no winsome stranger
though he rises & falls flails & fails
with a clamor at changes of weather: & yet is wise.
A ballast of lust
a blast of
the first frost
over the pond, a mirage: stem-cells base. Stars in ice
Ice looking-glass reflecting steeple, hill.
Always the mysterious part
--that ache of phantom limb kicks in.
One-legged boy hero's statue takes first blows of ice moon now:
Fox cast in bronze, hitch of shoulder, speed of burly body emanating from.
The valley of paradise chilled the body.
sounded at the end like a big wooden Cross of the Railroad Stop Look Listen
Everlasting Wonder. Grand Glory.
Sometimes you clear
moss from the tomb.
nailed to the door
Virtuous, verity, Luther, that's fine:
but lacking virtuoso speed & shine.
Copyright © Lynn Strongin