COCHISE by Peter Wild


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A kind of grand poetic eulogy to the fierce Chiricahua Apache Indians of whom Cochise was the chief back in the last century before they were emasculated by the U.S. government. An Imagist poetry, full of buffaloes, dying sunsets, tomahawked bellies, stealthy arrows, a recurring sense of horror: ""you look through the holes in your stomach/ and the body below tom from its skin/ is red fiber and dried sinew""; names like Twin Buttes, Totacon, Naahtree, resonant with mythological significance, albeit imprecise. Occasional humor (""They don't know where you've been, or/ where you're going./ but only that you are/ for the moment, a fact, an un-/ pleasant assertion. stick around"") and a good sense of rhythm, too often marred however by a kind of softness, plus an overall repetitiveness of themes and the annoying use of the ""you"" form of address. A competent collection of poems by a much-published author that does manage to capture the waste and emptiness of the great plains -- even a sense of regret at the passing of the savage life that used to be.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1973
Publisher: Doubleday