For a poet I read very little poetry. Unless a fellow poet
really captures my heart and mind I have a short attention span. Go
figure. When I saw Ken Nye's Clouds of Glory: Poetic Thoughts from
Maine with its iconic lighthouse I thought I'd skim a few pages.
Wrong. I ended up reading it cover to cover.
What I did NOT expect to see in the works of a male poet who
puts a lighthouse on his book cover is soul touching sensitivity. His
most amazing writings, in my mind, concern his mother's last years.
She had alzheimers at the end. In "Prelude to Goodbye" he talks about
the gradual process of loss and the preciousness of her increasingly
rare moments of being with her family again. In "Everyday Courage" he
talks about the strength of her finding joy, beauty, and love in a
progressively confusing and frustrating world.
Like me, Nye is a major league Wordsworth fan. He shares the
belief that infants arrive trailing clouds of glory from a heavenly
home to which the deceased return, a far more comforting view than
birth and death as abrupt beginning and end. This trust is epitomized
by "Eternity in a Ring" in which he describes being home with his
brand new grandson and dying mother.
The poems aren't all bittersweet. There is some great nature
observation. His memories of his boyhood are also terrific. My
favorite is "Birthday". Turning eleven, he hopes for a new bike but
remembers that the last time his parents promised him a surprise he
got a baby sister.
On a personal note, I'm back to knitting scarves for the first time in
months, seeing what I can create from my random yarn collection.
A great big shout out goes out to Leo and Willie because they're good
sports when I include them--in not always the most flattering light--
in my poems.
Julia Emily Hathaway
Sent from my iPod