"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Sons of the Pioneers song from TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon's old-fashioned newspaper column, cross-breeding metaphors and journalism and art, for readers in 150 countries.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Poetry of eternity and Oklahoma

Awe.
When you find writers, artists and others  you should have known about but missed out.
I hate the overused word "Awesome," but that's my reaction to the worlds opened by "From the Extinct Volcano A Bird of Paradise" by Oklahoman Carter Revard.
Published by Jeanetta Calhoun Mish's Mongrel Empire Press, this 84-page book of poetry and thought goes beyond my words to tell you about.  
It is deep.
Revard is an nationally-acclaimed Osage scholar, writer and poet. BA, Oxford (That's England). Ph.D., Yale. Why am I now just learning about him? Click the link on him  and you'll be stunned.
Yet he is as Okie as you can be. It's a book of storytelling, and more because it opens you to the Native American view of the universe, existences and spirituality where all life is united.
The poems reflect his  belief that song, speech, poetry and community making are all linked.
This author will put you in touch with eternity and  Oklahoma. This book is a coup for Mongrel Empire Press. Every time I read part of it, I discover something new, about myself, about Oklahoma, about existence. There is science, mythology, literature, and the author's essays all intertwined.
Consider a few titles, author's comments,  and nuggets.
Titles--Dancing with Dinosaurs; In Chigger Heaven; Driving in Oklahoma; Over by Fairfax, Leaving Tracks; Deer Mice Singing Up Parnassus.
Author's comments--
  • "I suspect singing began from weeping and from laughing, turned into choral tragedy and comedy, kept time with rhythms and rhymes of tropical sunlight and starlight...."
  • "Without song, no nesting."
  • "I wished once again that the anthropologists who keep digging in the earth for our bones would listen for our songs in the air. We are extinct as dinosaurs, are are alive as birds."
Poems-- 
  • From "Dopplegangers: A Nativity Ode"--
In this dark house there are no
stars but there is song, the hands
have warmed a bottle, there is milk,..."
  • From "In Chigger Heaven"--"We grew up crossing
the bluestem meadow full of flowers
in May, when butterflies were coming out to meet
the flowers at last as equals,...."
  • From "Living in the Holy Land" (at St. Louis for the Lewis and Clark bicentennial)--
"Forty score and seven years ago, 
give or take a few Heavenly Days,
our Osage forebears brought forth
on this continent, a new nation,
conceived in liberty and dedicated to
the proposition that all beings are created equal."
  • From "Over by Fairfax, Leaving Tracks"--
"The storm's left
       this fresh blue sky, over
Salt Creek running brown
and quick and a huge tiger
    swallowtail tasting the brilliant
orange flowers beside our trail....
"Makes me wonder,
 if archaeologists should ever dig these prints
    with possum's here, whether they'll see
the winged beings who moved
         in brightness near us, leaving no tracks except
             in flowers and
      these winged words."




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