Mother's burning breast

This is the bark which used to be
A functioning face. You see the stream?
A nymphet breathing. Things who seem
Alive are, mostly, differently.
What if your hand were once a rock,
Your friends narcissi, your heart a clock?

Thus Epstein launches what starts off seeming like a neat philosophical exercise, the personal and impersonal randomly intertransformed, and then winds through a sudden volta to a contemplation of the death of a loved one, as I hint in the title of this note.  It's a good specimen of what I look for most keenly in poetry.  Skill in the service of emotion.  Epstein's craft drew forth my interest, taking me to the acrid yet ambiguous conclusion.


What pleases me almost as much as the technique is that Richard Epstein appears to be a near-neighbor of mine.  I discovered another fellow Coloradan poet with rare craft just this week as well, Wendy Videlock.  Here is a fragment from a poem of hers.

Big Jack and his walking stick
live on the ridge. Navajo
orphan kids dance for him,
bobcat urine’s in the weeds,
the shotgun barrel's up his sleeve,   
a Persian coin is on the wind.

Trochaic tetrameter, mostly, tending towards anacrusis with the last couple of lines.  Not far off from Epstein's iambic tetrameter (mostly).  Wendy's poem is of a very different tone, and features a different sort of volta, but what a pleasure to discover two neighbor poets with such gifts on offer.

By the way, I've dropped the "Quotīdiē" tag from the title of this piece, and will probably do so for future posts, but I'll keep it in the metadata.