Gregory orr's first collection, Burning the Empty Nests (1973) was as well received as this one ought to be. Orr calls these dark, spare little poems ""paper coffins"" or again, ""tombstones."" The particular deaths they're haunted by are his brother's--in a hunting accident, and his mother's--sudden and premature. One poem borrows ""Two Lines from the Brothers Grimm""; many more use the devices of fairy tale and myth, particularly dream and metamorphosis, and have a mood of magic--often as not the sinister kind. Paid the neatness and simplicity of these sad story-poems almost mislead you to imagine they spring from the perceptions of a child. Repetitive symbols in the Orr cosmos are fields and clouds, angels, snails and furry animals, huts with windows and mirrors--and, of course, the bones of the title, as basic and ominous as the knowledge of death for a twelve-year-old with a smoking gun in his hand and his brother's body at his feet. Orr's power is the eloquence of understatement.