By Walt McDonald
The various elegance all of us want A West Texas starscape, attractive by means of any degree, is emblematic of Walt McDonald’s plains. A lifelong get together culminates during this, his best—and maybe last—collection of recent poems. At seventy, the poet affirms, we are living through the secret of grace at the same time we watch common stars blink out at sunrise. For he believes "God is familiar with we're airborne dirt and dust / and counts our steps." In "Leaving the center Years," he writes, "At our age, / on a daily basis is grace and each breath / a blessing. existence is grass, stunningly short / yet ample in such a lot of ways." Walt writes approximately heroes—a mom who taught tumbling; friends and family long past to warfare; the courageous at domestic who heal or console; others who rescue from struggle zones as many young children as they could. Heroes, too, are these whose constancy and pleasure locate faces in those poems. looking at crows at sunrise in Montana, a husband thinks of his spouse inside of their mountain cabin: If Ursula unearths extra grey she’ll cross on buzzing, realizing it’s ok, our kids 3 thousand miles away yet effective, after they referred to as final evening. She comes outdoors with espresso, final the door so softly even the crows don’t cease.
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It took a wrecker to free the car again, to haul it off. Five wrecks, each time the last, we decided, but next day she was rational, clear eyed and sorry, and one of us buckled and the alliance broke. Now, how to take keys from Mama’s fist and expect kisses? We all swear fiercely in whispers we’ll take turns driving her gladly day or night, anywhere, always, but Mama, please, it’s time. [ 51 ] In Shallows of the Brazos We taught our children to swim, swing out on ropes and jump, trusting oak limbs to hold them and then let go, the Brazos muddy enough to walk on.
Who else detected melodies from bats, heard wings in that dimension, harmonics odd but clear as bird songs in his ears? Others would take the easy way someday and scribble the obvious, pretend raw dissonance is modern, and some rich emperor, tone deaf, would call that chaos opera. Anyone could hear staccato in the wings of hummingbirds, discern irregular cadence, eighth notes of bouncing butterflies. But musical bats? they’d say. My God! Mozart, you’re mad. [ 50 ] Taking the Keys from Mother She won’t let go, those keys are hers, paid for, the car her only way away.
My wife carves lamb and hands the platter to a double cousin who’s come back. I never met him in Saigon or later, until today. Like her brothers, her cousin is huge, ducks under the door frame, a giant by his mother and Sicilian wife. No wonder Ursula is tough, that our boys are bigger than me, our daughters beautiful and bold. Her cousin’s children play outside with ours, his eight adopted from different landscapes, some scarred with skin grafts. Some hobble on plastic legs, one without arms. Her cousin could grab my skull like a softball, man who digs up steel around the world, who hunts down bombs and mines, turns killing fields to farms.