Paperback: 80 pages
Publisher: University of Pittsburgh Press; 1 edition (January 15, 2014)
Review by: g emil reutter
Although I thought it quite bold of Ostriker to attempt this collection, there was something about The Old Woman, the Tulip and the Dog, that did not wet my poetic appetite. I opened the book anyway and began to read the three stanza poems in the voices of an old woman full of memories of life, the opulent tulip and the rough and tumble dog. Ostriker tackles life through the voices of these three very different characters who have one thing in common, Ostriker’s voice.
The Win That Blows Through Me
I feel the hand of God inside my hand
when I write said the old woman
it blows me away like a hat
I’ll swear God’s needy hand is inside every atom
waving at us hoping we’ll wave back
Sometimes I feel the presence
of the goddess inside me said the dark red tulip
and sometimes I see her
waltzing in the world around me
skirts flying through everything looks still
It doesn’t matter whether you call the thing
God or goddess those are only words
said the dog panting after a run through the park
and a sprint after a squirrel
theology is bunk but the springtime wind is real
In this one poem, Ostriker captures the essence of belief and how we all seem to have our own comfort levels in believing in God or a goddess or an enlightened view that nature itself is God.
Using the collective voices of the old woman, tulip and the dog this collection charges into philosophical discussions between the three on a broad array of issues we deal with every day. A beautiful stanza appears in the poem, The Synagogue of the Ear Corn, in the voice of the tulip.
When the morning stars sang together
And the sons of God shouted for joy
When the planet appeared in the sky
A blue-green jewel
I was down there in my purple dress
beside a river there were thousands of us flowers
life all around us so incredible
the mother of all rock concerts
And so after having doubts, I must confess that once I began reading this collection, I could not stop. The crafting of the poems is exceptional, each voice unique blended by a master into an outstanding collection of poetry.
You can find the book here: