for N. H., in memoriam
Shy panzer of the swamp, atavisticin your haughty calm, you blink at usencapsulated in our swanky Prius,crossing the road from the prehistoricworld you’re going to or coming fromto lay your eggs in the sandy bedof tomorrow, knowing like the deadthat, however slow, it indeed will come.And does, even if absent of you—sanguine, curmudgeonly, immemorialas mud, or the memory of mudpropelling you on as you cling toyour path through fan-tailed ferns that floodour eyes with green heraldry, fresh and real.
Filkins, Peter. “Turtle.” Water/Music. pp. 66. © 2021 Peter Filkins.
Reprinted with permission of Johns Hopkins University Press.
Used with permission.
Peter Filkins is the Richard B. Fisher Professor of Literature and Creative Writing at Bard College at Simon’s Rock and a visiting professor of literature at Bard College. He is the author of four other books of poems: What She Knew, After Homer, Augustine’s Vision, and The View We’re Granted, as well as numerous translations and a biography, H. G. Adler: A Life in Many Worlds.
"History is the subject of much of this fine book, but not the history of exclusivity or the spoils of winners, but of ideas, of feelings, of sensibilities. Filkins engages with both the political and personal, the natural and the intellectual, and animating all of these marvelous poems is a keen moral sensibility that finds its home in rigorously made, sonorous, enduring poems."
—Mark Wunderlich author of The Earth Avails
"Peter Filkins's lovely, searching poems address a multitude of subjects with a singular coherence of vision, probing deep into the realms of politics, art, and the natural world with the attentive intelligence and the joy in getting things right that together form the hallmark of a true poet. This is a collection built to last."
—James Lasdun, author of Bluestone: New and Selected Poems