Miller’s debut collection of short, contemplative poems.
These 30 poems offer a refreshing respite from the workaday world: Seasons, birds, flowers and simple objects—a bayonet, a photograph, a statue—emerge, as if from a still-life painting. The poet’s wise, peaceful voice skillfully evokes the feeling of being a gentle observer of the natural world. Unexpected word-pairings add a spark to the verse: “Eagles flick twigs away, / waddling along high limbs. / Bits of bark released by iron talons / skitter to the leafy floor—and me.” Each poem is a miniature landscape painted by a keen artist’s eye. Some scenes emerge bright and crisp, with surprising clarity; others feel like a watercolor wash, ephemeral and light. The deftly fashioned poetry shows maturity and balance and is often vivid in its haikulike simplicity: “No one sees these limb embracing blooms / jewel singers / fragrant, rare.” Midway through, as a contrast, the author dabbles with two traditionally structured rhymed pieces, a kyrielle and a villanelle, which offer a break from free verse: “They do not end that cease to be. / Petals fall slow and purposely. / Bees leave at dusk for tomorrow’s morn. / All things that end must soon transform.” In an especially poignant piece, Miller writes: “Sometimes the soul is wounded so deep early / It cannot heal in a lifetime. / A sapling, cleft, can only grow around the blow.” Elsewhere, the eponymously titled last poem in the collection resonates with wisdom and hope: “Only once in a dwindling lifetime / will a ray of sunlight slip / through the basement’s gritty window. / Once, a pebble will crack the pane. / Take it then, take it….Tear your flesh on the broken glass / in your freeing. / It is worth the blood.”
Bright, contemplative poems that will illuminate the soul.