Aftermath: Poems by Sandra M. Gilbert

By Sandra M. Gilbert

Sandra Gilbert's poems are superbly located on the intersection of craft and feeling.—Billy CollinsThe name of this collection—at instances mournful, sardonic, and joyous—refers to the grief within the wake of loss. but those poems aren't on the subject of the implications of loss but in addition concerning the complicated reviews of persistence, acquiescence, and rebirth that, with good fortune, mark the aftermath of sorrow. from "Aftermath: Kite"       But the concept is barely paper in the end,       a soul that adheres to a stick, tears open, shreds       as if it is flung to the floor in a last glossy fall,       and eventually the road is going limp, the mountaineering ends.       Beyond the push & sweep, an arc of silence—       though a brain imagined this flight, & proved it as soon as.

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We had three children, four grandchildren -a little girl you never met is at this moment crying in the next room, & the sun is climbing over the cypresses. As is customary, more than two thirds of the party are now dead, including of course you, and who will wave and smile in the backseat of the car, 47 who will roll down the window and let in the cold air? -DECEMBER I, 2007 MoviNG OuT Darling, I'm pushing the house into the garden, into the black arms, the green embrace of the oaks. Yesterday, two giants lugged the grand piano, its synapses still crackling with your tunes, up the steep steps, the narrow path to the gate.

You were twenty-seven. ) Our parents were fifty somethings & the grandparents in their seventies. Everybody wore hats. We ate Cornish game hens stuffed with wild rice. A string quartet played the waltzes from Rosen/cavalier. Cousins & fathers& brothers uttered toasts. When we cut the cake, Monsieur Charles, the maitre-d', surprised you with a cupcake on which a single candle rode. ) There was white satin, as usual, & the usual rice. We had three children, four grandchildren -a little girl you never met is at this moment crying in the next room, & the sun is climbing over the cypresses.

0 all the phenomenal world thickened with omens thenthe dead fish on the beach, the motherless seal in the windbreak.... And now-0 now, dear life, I tiptoe to the edge, peer over the foam that slides away, the sticks and bones cast off, while overhead a hawk stands on a blue hill of air, 55 staring down too, to where in the motionless heat two bulldozers flatten the next field. PLANE Some are sleeping very darkly in tight places as if they no longer know or need to know how this long vibration is taking them Some are looking at flat or folding things puzzling over lines squinting at images Some are prowling the narrow passageways or limping or staggering & now & then there are openings where others in uniforms emerge with trays & papers from spaces with closets of ice cupboards of tools & over all the humming of something that grinds hisses throbs goes on & on through what is all at the same time huge tiny shining blank misty 57 NATURE & CuLTURE The heaviness of the August chestnuts in the Place des Vosges their nuts like prickly pears that stick & prickle among vast fiat-headed downward-turning tiers of leaves the green inside the fiat vast leaves the houses straight& duly pink around the royal square the king decreed diagonals of light inside the square & circles of swallows swooping & children skipping & the drunken sans-aim" under the arches (the sans-abri who will freeze to death next winter) & the what inside the green the bland inside the sky the bland impassive sky inside the houses 59 THE NIGHT MARE comes up from the field, her nostrils twitching, her hide jumping with fleas.

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