Yesterday I published a review of Barbara Crooker’s book MORE. If you scroll up on the Home Page or Poetry category, it will still be there. This second book, GOLD, is a more tender selection of her poems, many of which are sad but lovely thoughts about love, death and dying, especially her mother’s. The cover is lovely and is perfect for the contents.
I like her poems because they are not esoteric, with lots of hidden meanings that I can’t fathom. Rather, these poems stir my heart and help me identify some of my own feelings, such as the one below, “Owl Hour,” because, like the author, I remarried later in life. And since I met my husband right before Valentine’s Day, 15 years ago, I picked this as my first poem from this book to post. (I hope to post more in future blogs.) Actually, I think the whole month of February can be devoted to “Heart Matters,” the title on my Home Page.
GOLD is published by Cascade Books, Eugene, Oregon, an imprint of Wipf and Stock publishers (www.wipfandstockpublishers.com) and costs $11.00 on Amazon. (https://www.amazon.com/dp/193619600X/?tag=barbaracrooke-20.) The cover is an excerpt of a painting by Klimt, one of my favorite artists.
I don’t know why I get so cold at ten o’clock, but that’s when I’m drawn,
like some sort of nightbird, to our nest upstairs in the flannel sheets,
once the color of pinot noir, now duller, patinaed by the silver
of our skins. I need to pile on the blue blanket, the heavy woolen
one from Ireland, the Broken Star quilt, before I stop
shivering. Sometimes the house itself quivers in the wind.
Then you come up, and we arrange ourselves like a nest
of measuring cups. Some of our friends now sleep alone, half
the set missing. I’ve told you you’re not allowed to die first;
I don’t do numbers—checkbook, taxes, bills. My breasts
press into your back; my hand with the numb fingers stretches
over your heart. How lucky we are to have found each other;
what if I hadn’t gone to the party that night? The second time
for both of us; we know how it can all go wrong. Even
when I can’t sleep, I listen to the hoots and calls
of your breathing, which both keeps me awake
and will be the first thing I’ll miss when all the nights
are silent. We know there’ll be an afterwards;
we’re not that young anymore. I turn, and turn again,
the way a dog circles before he lies down. And though
we can’t see them, the stars twirl overhead, each one nested
in the place in space it’s supposed to call home.