Monday, March 12, 2012


Kay Ryan was the U.S. Poet Laureate from 2008-2010 and The Best of It (Grove Press, 2010) is certainly representative of her lifetime achievement in poetry.  I was fortunate to procure this first edition last week and have been carrying her poetry with me as I've ambled from place to place and been busily engaged in my own compositions of comfort and joy.  She writes sparingly, but precisely, and most of her poems have a philosophical air about them that are at once accessible and deep.  Ryan is also a master at the metaphor, the double-meaning, the oxymoron.  And this collection is enough supply for anyone looking to gain an appreciation for a poet at her zenith.

I like Ryan because she also writes of domestic affairs:  the nuances of daily living; tapestries of relationships; the dichotomies of love. 

Looking back on my own poetic output (thus far in 2012), I considered these expressions of love and all the poems my wife has not read (that's most of them).  I thought I'd pick one from my own romantic slush pile and try it on for size.  Here's one about growing older.  Slowly.  With enough time to think about it.

Time Was 

Time was when I saw time
As all the time in the world
     As time to ignore such hours
     As hours slip golden by
     And a dark hush swoons
     Across the sky.

Time now as time defines
The broken circle breaks
     As time in distant history
     As hours fleeting hurled
     And yearning for time's love
     In the weak arms of the world.             


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