Monday, June 21, 2010

Jeanne Murray Walker

Jeanne Murray Walker is a powerful poet of varied voice. She is equal to both the task of portraying the darkness in our world, and that of expressing real hope. She is the author of seven collections of poetry, and is also well-known for her plays, which have been staged in such cities as Chicago, Boston, Vancouver and London. She lives in Philadelphia, and has been a professor at the University of Delaware for over thirty years.

The following poem is from her new collection, New Tracks, Night Falling (Eerdmans, 2009),

Thanks

After Gerard Manley Hopkins

for September sun like a sharp thread
----that strings and pulls me
down the footpath, nearly blind, toward
----the dark woods. For the hawk kiting

on high sheen above the field
----as I cross the footbridge.
For the water’s slather, for bittersweet,
----stone flowers, slagmire, silt, sediment

rushing into the slurp of gravity. Thanks even
----for seek and cover, for the seam that
opens in the hay, mouse tail splitting the gold,
----ears sleeked back, frozen against

the plummet, wings folding silent
----as umbrellas, bill hooked, steel
cables grabbing, hauling up. Thanks
----for fierce, fast, for finality,

for let-go, limp, at last. Thanks for not
----covering up what I can’t grasp,
and for sunlight, still as strong
----as harp strings, holding earth to heaven.

(Posted with permission of the poet)

Read my Books & Culture review of Jeanne Murray Walker’s poetry collection, A Deed To The Light (2004, University of Illinois Press) here

Entry written by D.S. Martin. He is the award-winning author of the poetry collections Poiema (Wipf & Stock) and So The Moon Would Not Be Swallowed (Rubicon Press). They are both available at: www.dsmartin.ca