Don Paterson is an important voice in British poetry and letters. He writes of both the light and the dark in life and in ourselves.
What happened to me on that blustery afternoon fifteen years ago cannot be explained. Four hundred miles from home. Bancroft, Nebraska. The area formerly inhabited by the Omaha Indians is now this small town of fewer than five hundred. Ninety-eight percent of European descent. I am ready to meet Hilda Neihardt, the author of Black […]
Nursery rhymes are often our first introductions to poetry. You’d be hard-pressed to find a youngster who was unaware of Jack’s broken crown, the shoe-dwelling woman with more children than the Duggars, or everyone’s favorite fall-on-your-bum game, “ring around the rosie.” But despite the sing-song rhythms and lyrical use of end rhyme, many of Mother […]
There is a long-standing metaphorical marriage of rain and sorrow. Painters, film-makers, musical artists — they have all used tempestuous imagery to denote loss, grief, and sadness. In 1933 Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler penned “Stormy Weather, ” the quintessential breakup song first performed by Ethel Waters. Covered by greats like Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, […]
The gerbera daisy that I had planted in an old green ceramic pitcher on my back porch isn’t red anymore. In fact, the red bloom shriveled and fell off weeks ago. But the stem and the leaves that were left behind, now they have died too. At least that’s my initial diagnosis. With my plastic […]
The heartland is ablaze. The five-o’clock news anchor tells us that Tower Mountain was kissed by lightning, that it went up like a harvest bonfire before emergency crews responded. “There have been more than 1, 000 wildfires in Arkansas this year, ” he says, “mostly in rural portions of the state.” He makes some awkward […]
Withered grass crackles under my feet, and my flip-flops leave a dusty trail en route to the backside of the farm. I am intent on closing a gate, but halfway along I kneel to study wide cracks of parched earth and discover underground ant highways and intersections exposed by the drought. I rise to the […]