Saturday, January 05, 2019

The Everything Saint by Judy Katz-Levine (Word Poetry--2018)

The Everything Saint by Judy Katz-Levine  (Word Poetry--2018)

One thing I tell my creative writing students is to "notice" everything. And that is not easy to do in our mad rush--this fever dream we call life. But poet Judy-Katz Levine notices the birds cawing to her in conversation, a trembling cup of tea, her childhood of " Hard balls, sassafras, streets with bicycles...."  Her poems are wells of imagery. This work is by a poet who lives deeply in the moment.

In her poem " Embracing Time with Two Friends" she brings lyricism to an ordinary moment sitting in her friend's guest room.

Silence with a slight hire wire tone
like the whisper of crickets before dawn
and the spirit of a friend who embraces
after the theater performance
of Jane Austin's " Pride and Prejudice"
sleeps now in another room.
I'm in her guestroom with
a cold cup of tea and after a
psalm, psalm  65 and a
meditation before prints of
the artist Paul Klee and
another sunrise watercolor
a seed that sprouts in her
garden and mine--maybe her
poppies the flowers just budding just starting
to open, maybe the arugula
that is not eaten by a rabbit in mine..."

There is a poem dedicated to the late poet Denise Levertov. Levertov lived in Somerville, MA. for a number of years and taught at MIT. Levine celebrates her former teacher's spirit, passion, pacifism and legacy in her poem," On Denise And Her Work Against The Vietnam War."

...Standing on her stoop,
questioning my own motives in the Twilight, she nodded--
'don't brush it away, your questions , your doubts.' Now the
limbless come home, the hospitals a barren solace of

...Now the soldiers, servants arrive
home from Afghanistan, Iraq, trembling at a breeze as if the leaves
were covered with blood.  We question ourselves.
Though she could not plumb our depths, she could move us
far up the mountain.

Levine often brings to us what many of us sense--but are not able to express. It can leave the reader contemplating, " Ah,! sweet mystery of life."

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