Gerry Cambridge opens a window on American poetry for UK readers, and in the 21st issue of The Dark Horse offers stimulating criticism alongside poems from both sides of the Atlantic.
He includes this touching and many-layered meditation on time and memory from the distinguished American poet Rachel Hadas.
I've finally brought myself to give away
the wartime edition of The Joy of Cooking
in which my mother-in-law had noted "first
quickening" and the date
(fall 1942 it would have been)
in the inside back cover. Tenderly
handed on, the dense maternal weave
rediscovered, lost again, the past
skidding and pleating like a slippery rug
underfoot, that quickening fetus now
a man not much past sixty who is fast
losing his memory. How did I get here?
And how do I escape?
As long as I remember things, I live
In the illusion nothing has been lost.
The streetlights suddenly all go on at once,
but shreds of sunlight still shine through the trees
as urgently as if we had a choice.
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