The stark imagery of William Fargason’s “Porcelain Nocturne” carries the weight of fragility, which is an underlying theme in this Spring Quarterly collection of poems. This was not a theme we promoted or asked for from our submitters, yet the melancholy of the times procured its own theme. Fortunately, fragility often calls upon resilience, and these poems share that as well. Fargason writes: Here, it always rains. No matter. And he continues with the evocative imagery of sharing an umbrella, branches of a tree, light from the moon. Then he imagines (inviting the reader to join in) the moon as a tiger, how it will be shaped from glazed ceramic, how we will add another stripe.
Given the current landscape of what we read and are faced with daily, it’s not surprising that poetry is yielding such consideration and concern. Poetry is sacred ground for our empathy, keeps us company below the surface of such rumblings. We are each engaging in our own way, whether in the forefront or behind the scenes, and the universal me too is being heard.
Several of these poems turn to nature as metaphor for resilience, such as Fred Marchant’s “The Migrants.” Here, a migrant happens upon dry myrtle along the side of the road and a ground that seemed soft enough to sleep on, gratefully accepting that There will be at least this much tonight. Cindy Veach’s “Psalm at Sixty” turns to the abandoned nest to remind herself Of every bird,/all throat and call/refusing to be silenced. And Kaela McNeil is gathering the feathers, the baby bird bones, makes a mask, a roost to carry her little crows in.
Continuing this progression, a father and son are watching the slow, far wavering/of things disappearing from the world as fog rolls in “Absence” by Jim Nawrocki. This poem reflects upon a quiet resolve of life, of what comes, and leaves such as the wind’s current in the father’s hair, in the folds of his shirt that examines and then leaves him. It recognizes our place in this force we call life. As readers, we are left with a sense of solitude within these moments of contemplation, that is and isn’t our own. Of course, what would contemplation be without the nagging interruption of a fly? – Even, the eater of flesh in Hyejung Kook’s “Blue Fly” is deserving of care and examination: Honor to you/vital decomposer…
I want only/to die at the exact depth as you, writes Marjorie Thomsen in “To An Old Shipwreck.” How poignant to feel the burden of a vessel, sunk, and still to see its lightness in being gauzy, delicate, with unmatched blessitude even as the poem opens: You said shipwrecked was a verb/ you needed to be. It is with this same lightness that JP Howard would Say I love you, even when you can’t love yourself, as she does, along with thirty other incantations in “What to Say to a Friend Who Wants to Give Up.”
With the tenderness of bruised fruit, “Tangerine Trees & Little Bags of Sugar” shares a story of a mother teaching her child about gratitude through the remembrance of and depiction of the delicate balance of survival, of determination, of thriving, a sweetness you can only get from sugar & sweat.
Even artificial intelligence, the most contemporary of subjects, can’t ignore the vitality of nature. Ernesto Abeytia’s “My Lover is a Robot” juxtaposes a droning generator, a steel smile full of gnash against a hedgerow of azaleas. There is no stopping the resilience of nature. For all its fragility, it’s a source to be reckoned with. And despite our advanced technology, Abeytia believes we must never forget about the blooming springtime bulbs.
We invite you to read these intelligent and thoughtful poems, embrace your fragility with grace and honor your strength with resilience.