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by Chris Ransick
This collection from Denver’s former poet laureate pulses with surprising turns and playful language. The book’s complex weave of individual, highly readable pieces collected into suites presents an invitation to the reader to absorb the book as greater than the sum of its parts.
Tom Ferril’s Mandolin
From these rooms, your notes would fall
through summer nights, into back yards
where old men leaned against a wall
to talk, to sit in cool dusk playing cards.
Sandburg strummed a guitar, going round
a tune through which you weaved, the words
and strings together shaping sound.
I would have smiled to hear those songs
from a nearby porch, verses crooned
by two poets in their cups. Today I found a ring
of flagstone under dirt while we cleared
decades of weeds out back, wrongs
grown tall by time and neglect. The rock shone red
when rinsed with water and sun. Someone told how
Dorothy Parker woke up in your daughter’s bed,
hung over and in need of a poem. Now,
the rooms have no beds. Heat swirls in the loft
above the rounded desk at the window
where you made books, an ancient craft.
This house will never fall silent
though the music grows ever more soft.