In the car rider line with a book of poetry, I find the world shifts into a slightly better frame for me. The beautiful Gnomon today, by Cynthia Huntington (Jacar Press, 2017).
A gnomon is “the projecting piece on a sundial that shows the time by the position of its shadow.”
From the title poem: “The apples are sour and hard./ The trees are dreaming/ the shape the teeth tore from the flesh./ Gnomon. The part taken away,/ shape of absence — mirror/ to the missing piece. You would know your beloved/ even turned away.”
The themes of love and longing appear over and again within the book; and this kind of love is next to the holy, and “there is no joy beyond this.”
“– we go on under stars, under the darkest/ clouds, we climb and descend, our feet heavy;/ we are tired — but everything is so astonishing,/ each moment so new. We go on; stepping forward,/ we ask: Are you here? The grass says yes./ We step into God every moment, stunned, dumb-/ founded, we meet him however we go, so how/ can we bear to rest, to cease discovering him/ over and over, in the next moment, opening …”
This whole chapbook works like this. “… climb and descend, climb and descend” … seeking and finding God at each unexpected turn, from a green star to a horse alone in a pasture. Love and sorrow, the sweetest loves, the sweetest joys — and every poem in this chapbook is a door.
Honestly, this is poetry I wish I’d written.
And just like the hike through the woods that you wish would last longer, this is a short read — only 20 pages — but what a lovely journey. And the poems, like trees, clear our heads, somehow remind us who we are.
The blurb on the back by David Rivard: “After experience is done teaching us just about everything it thinks it needs to teach us, we come back to desire, the one thing worth knowing. This time around desire shows up as a wild calm, dead center of whatever picture in which we find ourselves. These marvelous, subtle poems go deep, deep, deep into that wild calm. So subtle, so moving! I don’t believe anyone but Cynthia Huntington could have written them.”
If you pick up this chapbook, let me know what you think.
Deep, deep appreciation and admiration goes to Abigail Browning and Ray Crampton, for the tremendous job you guys are doing over at Tate Street Society, and for inviting me to come by last month and talk about Women Writers of the Triad, Sable Books, and some of the projects and work I’ve been honored to be a part of. (You can listen to the podcast here, if you are so inclined.)
What a generous interview and you do such a professional job. Thank you, thank you.
And along with being Managing Editor at Tate Street Society as well as an accomplished dancer and dance instructor, you can catch Abigail reading her poetry alongside Janice Fuller at Second Saturday at Tate Street Coffee House this weekend at 7:00pm. Open mic follows so bring a piece to share.
Also a quick report that things here on the homefront are as difficult and beautiful as ever, but at the end of the day there is a back porch with a cross-breeze, a glass of wine, music coming from inside the house, and mostly blessings in the form of the amazing people who grace or touch our lives in their myriad ways — whose paths run somewhere near or right alongside mine — I am filled to spilling over with gratitude for you, especially my beloveds, who have my back or my children’s backs — who tell my children they are good people, those who welcome, inspire, and love them, who treat us like family — I thank you with my whole self. You know who you are.