The Lord and The General Din of the World

Jane Mead

The kids are shrieking at the edge of the pool,their angelic faces twisting. They liketo shriek—they like to make the Great Dane bellow.When he cannot stand it any longer, he jumpsthe wall and chases them, still screaming, in.And under all this now a steady grating—a plastic bottle of blue cheese dressingscraping up against the concrete gutter,bobbing off the aqua, sun-flicked wavesthe kids have made by jumping.And there's a man here from Afghanistanwho hasn't cut his greasy hair since he was driven mad.His name is Simon. He looks just like The Christ.Walks up and down beside the pool, obliviousto screams and barking. He gestures as he talks,whispers and pontificates. No one is listening.Lord, is the general din of the world your own?Something that is good in me is crumbling.Early this morning I walked out into the vineyardwhere the sun hits the sunburnt grapeleavesand the dusty grapes about to be harvested.I felt something light then—the skittish joythat is also a falling off from the worldto that place you can get to by fasting.Simon marches by, then stops—and looksat a stretch of bright green grass:        "Is that shit?        I thought so.        I have been here before.        They always hide the horses though."What holds me here destroys me as I go.

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Mary Shea

Jane Mead was the author of five collections of poetry, including World of Made and Unmade (Alice James, 2016) which was nominated for a National Book Award, as well as a finalist for the L.A. Times Book Prize and the Griffin Prize in Poetry. Her poems appeared regularly in journals and anthologies, and she was the recipient of a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, a Whiting Writers Award, and a Lannan Foundation Completion Grant. For many years Poet-in-Residence at Wake Forest University, she also managed her family’s ranch in northern California. She taught as a visiting writer at Washington University, Colby College and The University of Iowa. Mead passed away on September 8, 2019.

"Mead ... wrote clean, spare, often elegiac lines"
The New York Times

"Mead propels readers forward, using plain language that’s elegant in its simplicity yet compelling and heartbreaking. Even as she confronts grief and loss, the poet highlights the overriding theme of courage.”
Library Journal

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