A series of verse letters to the English poet Edward Thomas, killed in the First World War, forms the centerpiece of this remarkable collection. Like most of the poems, it expresses a deep concern for England, past and present. Other poems, whether lyrical or narrative, comic or contemplative, explore love and fatherhood, triumph and longing. Some are adventures from the known to the ineffable; some draw on the poet's travels and his time living in Amherst, Massachusetts.
About the Author
Glyn Maxwell is the author of several books of poetry, including The Sugar Mile. He is also a dramatist whose plays have been staged in New York, Edinburgh, and London. Among other honors, he has won the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize, the Somerset Maugham Award, and the E. M. Forster Prize. He was the poetry editor of the New Republic from 2001 to 2007.
THE BREAKAGE Someone broke our beautiful All-coloured window.They were saints He broke, or she or it broke.They were Colours you can't get now.
Nothing else was touched. Only our Treasured decoration, while it Blackened in its calm last night, light Dead in it, like He is.
Now needles of all length and angle Jab at air.They frame a scene Of frosty meadows, all our townsmen Bobbing here to mourn this,
To moan and wonder what would mount And ride so far to grieve us, Yet do no more than wink and trash, Not climb down in here even.
Most eyes are on the woods, though, Minds on some known figures.
At least until they too turn up here, Sleep-white, without stories.
Things it could have done in here It hasn't done. It left it all The way it was, in darkness first, now This, the dull light day has.
We kneel and start. And blood comes Like luck to the blue fingers Of children thinking they can help, Quick as I can warn them.
Copyright © 1998 by Glyn Maxwell. Reprinted by permission of Houghton Mifflin Company.