Friday, May 31, 2013

Suppose it were Friday lxx: becoming the field

Mr Nathaniel Perry teaches
at a distinguished small
college in Virginia and he
is an artist in the medium
of the book. I note, a num-
ber of our colleagues in 
Context are expressing al-
arm for its longevity, and
yet I doubt if anyone will
associate the treasures of
Mr Perry's craft with any
other medium. He received
the American Poetry Review
Honickman First Book Prize,
whose printer is the estim-
able Copper Canyon Press, 
publisher of a translation
from Sophocles, I've al-
ready discussed.

Yes, throughout Nine Acres,
there's the distinct press
of a cultivating instrument
in the sequencing of words;
communicable, communicated
belief, and hope for the fur-
rows' tenacity and fecundity
in time. One could not not
want to hold this structure
of feeling, one could not
airily lay aside in the bi-
nary heaven of the web, such
presence in the hand. We see
better what we touch

Here one can disseminate, but
not expect to plant, a prom-
ising expression of the heart.
So let us not waste fortunate
experience in demure neglect
of each other; we do not, for
ourselves. This is gorgeous
stuff. We take it, we save it,
we savour it without prejudice
as Mr Jefferson observed, in 
usufruct for the living. 

    This rain will fall all day. The boy
    and I are watching it fill the fields,
    which is good for fields. To fill, to feel
    filled will last and be a shield

    against the vacant weeks, the drier
    days. And what are the things that fill
    us up? Little graces, good food,
    the arrows we trade, our small good will?

    We don't know what saves us. Better to be
    a field, the boy and I decide,
    at least he seems to agree. He's filling
    a bucket with everything he finds,

    and he's so pleased when it is full,
    his smile a clutch of raspberries
    in the forest sun - no more worries,
    no more to do, nothing's scary.

Nathaniel Perry
Nine Acres
  Bush and Cane Fruits
Copper Canyon Press
The American Poetry Review, 2011©

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