Charles Loudon*- The Fox Chase Review
Donald Hall brings us on a journey through his sixty years of poetry, of writing, of selecting poems to share with us, of great joy and great loss. Hall is a lover of the sound of words, a poet who poets enjoy as well as non-poets such as me. At this last stage in his life, Hall continues to write and share his poetry at conferences, he has survived cancer and the loss of the beautiful poet Jane Kenyon his wife 20 years his junior. Like Kunitz, Hall will contribute to the art of poetry until he can speak no more, and for generations after he departs this place.
Hall writes of his sense of place and the people around him. Community, family, ancestors, children and Jane all have prominence in his poetry. He draws us into his life, leaving us more appreciative of ours. We sometimes take many things for granted, Hall reminds us, we should treasure every minute.
The sense of loss from Ardor:
After she died I screamed/ upsetting the depressed dog/ Now I no longer/ address the wall covered/ with many photographs/ nor call her “you”/ in a poem. She recedes/ into the granite museum/ of JANE KENYON 1947-1995.
Hours are slow and weeks/ rapid in their vacancy/ Each day lapses as I recite/ my complaints. Lust is grief/ that has turned over in bed/ to look the other way.
From The Third Inning:
9. The leg is the dancer and the mouth/ the sculptor. The tongue models vowels/ or chisels consonants. Pause, pitch, pace/ length, and volume patine a surface/ of shapes that the mouth closes over/ Behind our listening lips, working/ the throats silent machine, one muscle/ shuts on/off/on/off: the motionless/ leg of the word that leaps in the world.
From Stone Walls:
In October the leaves turn/ on low hills in the middle distance, like heather, like tweed/ Like tweed woven from heather and gorse/ purples, greens, reds, grays, oranges, weaving together/ this joyful fabric/ and I walk in the afternoon sun, kicking the leaves.
Hall’s narrative poems wrap you in the fabric of his life, always calling to you to turn the page and read more. Hall is a national treasure, and for every second he presses on, writing of what he knows, what he is, we are better for it.
WHITE APPLES and the TASTE of Stone, Selected Poems 1946-2006 can be found here:
White Apples and the Taste of Stone: Selected Poems 1946-2006
*Charles Loudon lives on Cottman Avenue in Philadelphia, he is not sure if he lives in Fox Chase or Burholme depending on who he speaks with. He is frequent visitor to the Ryerss Library. This is the last in a series of reviews Mr. Loudon is writing for National Poetry Month.
** some text does not appear as in the collection due to format problems.