“Nomad” by Robin Beth Schaer

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The author herself (whose book Shipbreaking was published in August) has described this poem as “vaguely post-apocalyptic.” What do you think? Brilliant? Intriguing? Affected? Obscure?


Just 94 words. All but 20 are of one syllable. Think about that for a moment. No, marvel at it. And not just any words, mind you. So many words of deep resonance for us humans. Elemental words: beasts, boats, hands, wheel, days, threshing, feet, tongue, knot, swim, oars, snakes, trees, bread, sky, heaven, hope, shore.


And with such simple words, to have created such images! Just one example: a fishing net cast into the air above a body of water. Look at the way it arcs, the way its weighted edge wheels into bright air and then sinks through the … days.


This is what a good poem does. It rescues, even redeems this tired, abused, listless language of ours.


Not to mention everything else poetry does.


I, for one, will start my day — that is, I will harness myself and draw this life of mine behind me — with a new and welcome sense of possibility, with my eyes fixed on the yellow shore.


With hope.


Thanks, Robin Beth Schaer.



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