Monday, May 16, 2022

Marjorie Stelmach*

Marjorie Stelmach is the former director of the Howard Nemerov Writing Scholars Program at Washington University in St. Louis. Her seventh collection The Angel of Absolute Zero has just appeared from Cascade Books’ Poiema Poetry Series. This is the second of her books from that series, which is edited by (yours truly) D.S. Martin. Another recent book, Walking the Mist appeared from the Ashland Poetry Press.

Poet Jane O. Wayne says of Stelmach’s new book: “In The Angel of Absolute Zero, Marjorie Stelmach leads us into a quiet realm arising out of both personal experience and reading. Whether she ponders a loon’s call or the secret origins of the cobalt blue in Chartres Cathedral’s windows, her discoveries and wise observations enrich the poems. Every image apt, every word in place, Stelmach’s beautiful book gives us the pure pleasure of her music and insights.”

Every one of these poems has previously found a home in such literary journals as, Beloit Poetry Review, The Cresset, Hudson Review, and Prairie Schooner.

The following poem first appeared in Terrene and is also from The Angel of Absolute Zero.

The Psalm of the Luna Moth

-----After a Luna moth egg hatches, the caterpillar moves
-----through five instars, eating constantly, then weaves
-----a cocoon from which it emerges mouthless. As an adult,
-----it flies only at night, and lives only long enough to mate―
-----a few days at most.

Those innumerable feet
seemed so useful
in my youth,

but looking back, I see
it was a life spent crawling,

Then, you called me.

-----Here am I.

You freed me, first, from hunger
and the sorrow of my plodding,
and now,

in fields of luminous dusk,
beneath a silken beckoning
of stars,

you have given me wings

and coupled my heart
to the moon.

Lord of Light, I have felt
my wings beset
by the forces

of your suddenness,
your swerves and lifts, your
sheer drops.

And now,
having come into the fullness
of my longing, once again

I hear your voice.

-----Here am I.

Eagerly, I spread my wings
and all my previous lives
before you

to ask what you,
in the sweep of your reckless love,
will make of me next.

Posted with permission of the poet.

*This is the second Kingdom Poets post about Marjorie Stelmach: first post.

Entry written by D.S. Martin. He is the author of five poetry collections including Angelicus (2021, Cascade) ― a book of poems written from the point-of-view of angels. His books are available through Wipf & Stock.