Donald Hall's fourteenth collection opens with an epigraph from the Urdu poet Faiz: "The true subject of poetry is the loss of the beloved." In that poetic tradition, as in THE PAINTED BED, the beloved might be a person or something else - life itself, or the disappearing countryside. Hall's new poems further the themes of love, death, and mourning so powerfully introduced in his WITHOUT (1998), but from the distance of passed time. A long poem, "Daylilies on the Hill 1975 - 1989," moves back to the happy repossession of the poet's old family house and its history - a structure that "persisted against assaults" as its generations of residents could not. These poems are by turns furious and resigned, spirited and despairing - "mania is melancholy reversed," as Hall writes in another long poem, "Kill the Day." In this book's fourth and final section, "Ardor," the poet moves toward acceptance of new life in old age; eros reemerges.
|Publisher:||Houghton Mifflin Harcourt|
|Edition description:||First Mariner Books Edition|
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.27(d)|
About the Author
DONALD HALL (1928-2018) served as poet laureate of the United States from 2006 to 2007. He was a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and a recipient of the National Medal of the Arts, awarded by the president.
Read an Excerpt
I let her garden go.
let it go, let it go How can I watch the hummingbird Hover to sip With its beak’s tip The purple bee balmwhirring as we heard It years ago?
The weeds rise rank and thick let it go, let it go Where annuals grew and burdock grows, Where standing she At once could see The peony, the lily, and the rose Rise over brick
She’d laid in patterns. Moss let it go, let it go Turns the bricks green, softening them By the gray rocks Where hollyhocks That lofted while she lived, stem by tall stem, Dwindle in loss.
To grow old is to lose everything.
Aging, everybody knows it.
Even when we are young, we glimpse it sometimes, and nod our heads when a grandfather dies.
Then we row for years on the midsummer pond, ignorant and content. But a marriage, that began without harm, scatters into debris on the shore, and a friend from school drops cold on a rocky strand.
If a new love carries us past middle age, our wife will die at her strongest and most beautiful.
New women come and go. All go.
The pretty lover who announces that she is temporary is temporary. The bold woman, middle-aged against our old age, sinks under an anxiety she cannot withstand.
Another friend of decades estranges himself in words that pollute thirty years.
Let us stifle under mud at the pond’s edge and affirm that it is fitting and delicious to lose everything.
Copyright © 2002 by Donald Hall. Reprinted by permission of Houghton Mifflin Company.
Table of Contents
|The Painted Bed||xv|
|I.||Kill the Day||1|
|1.||The After Life||11|
|2.||The Purpose of a Chair|
|The Perfect Life||30|
|Throwing the Things Away||35|
|Burn the Album||48|
|Daylilies on the Hill 1975-1989||55|
|The Old Lover||71|
|Charity and Dominion||73|
|The Peaceable Kingdom||81|
|Dread and Desire||85|
|Out of Bed||86|
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Heartbreak. And the long, masterful 'Daylilies', about two centuries of his family members who have died in his farmhouse, poetry doesn't get better than this.
I was truly touched by this book. I felt that he captured a multitude of emotion quite beautifully. This book was so personal and focused on the writer's grief over losing his wife as well as everything they shared together. He embraced his struggle, their romance, sexual relationship, as well as his futile attempts at dating someone new. His emotions are raw on each page!!!!!! I absolutely loved this book!