for Phyllis Ennes, 1928-2013
If her father were herewith those hands that knewhow to coax storiesfrom wood, we’d ask himto carve her in cedaras Raven Stealing the Sun,which he could then sawinto sections the sizeof a greengrocer’s thumb,then fit them back togetherwith intricate joins, cunninglatches, so those who loved hermight take her apart,each of us bearing the artin a curve of wing, a small motifof feather, a clear & clevereye, a portion of beak,until all that’s leftis the brilliant berry of lightshe brought us—if her father hadn’t goneinto darkness before her,if she hadn’t alreadygiven herself awayone thoughtful offeringat a time.
“Talisman” from DISTURBING THE LIGHT: by Samuel Green.
Published by Carnegie Mellon University Press November 7th, 2020.
Copyright © 2020 by Samuel Green.
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry Daily with permission.
Samuel Green, author of twelve collections of poetry, has lived off the grid for nearly forty years on remote Waldron Island. With his wife, Sally, he is co-editor of the award-winning Brooding Heron Press. He has been a visiting professor at multiple colleges and universities, and was selected as the first Poet Laureate of Washington State. Other honors include an NEA Fellowship in Poetry, an Artist Trust Fellowship in Literature, a Washington State Book Award in Poetry, and an Honorary Doctorate from Seattle University. From 1966-1970, he was in the U.S. Coast Guard, with service in Viet Nam.
"Samuel Green writes poems that are as elegant as Shaker furniture, plain in the way the columns of the Parthenon are plain. His poems are unostentatiously beautiful, built of memory and the imagination much of memory is made of. They do not show off, they just matter. Read this new collection and it will help you remember that the best poems, like almost anything else, are also handmade."
"Samuel Green’s Disturbing the Light is a love letter to a hard-earned life, one that traces the long journey of a war-weary soul to a place of love and light. It’s a meditation on family and labor and the natural world that does not avert its gaze from that which must be said."