Aftermath: Poems by Sandra M. Gilbert

By Sandra M. Gilbert

Sandra Gilbert's poems are fantastically located on the intersection of craft and feeling.—Billy CollinsThe name of this collection—at instances mournful, sardonic, and joyous—refers to the grief within the wake of loss. but those poems will not be near to the implications of loss but additionally concerning the complicated stories of patience, acquiescence, and rebirth that, with success, mark the aftermath of sorrow. from "Aftermath: Kite"       But the concept is barely paper in spite of everything,       a soul that adheres to a stick, tears open, shreds       as if it is flung to the floor in a last glossy fall,       and ultimately the road is going limp, the hiking ends.       Beyond the push & sweep, an arc of silence—       though a brain imagined this flight, & proved it as soon as.

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No, no more about the meadow, say goodbye to the seasons, to pastorals, to dopey moping sheep, to brooding sky and sea, those teary tropes for sorrowful and sloppy! Emily Bronte, Judith Wright, you both already counted up the wild fifteen when one's above, an other cold in the earth: ghostly, you tell me to whistle a different tunegive voice to the rock, find words for the bed of granite, and don't describe tough stuff in another sonnet! DECEMBER 1, 1957 I was twenty. You were twenty-seven. ) Our parents were fifty somethings & the grandparents in their seventies.

44 THE ANNIVERSARY mustn't be worded or worried any more now that two cycles of seven have passed away and moon by sun by week by quickening year I too have passed past too much memory­ And whose was the anniversary anyway? Was it hers who sobbed and put her head in the oven, was it theirs who made this day their wedding day, or his who couldn't keep from getting born? The tumult of birth pummeled and plunged him out, nothing could stop the clenched fist of the womb, the lips that gaped and uttered him head to toe, the what that made him ugly or smart or handsome­ and then (as you lay dying) the afterbirth, the cage of breath, the blood, the aftermath.

We ate Cornish game hens stuffed with wild rice. A string quartet played the waltzes from Rosen/cavalier. Cousins & fathers& brothers uttered toasts. When we cut the cake, Monsieur Charles, the maitre-d', surprised you with a cupcake on which a single candle rode. ) There was white satin, as usual, & the usual rice. We had three children, four grandchildren -a little girl you never met is at this moment crying in the next room, & the sun is climbing over the cypresses. As is customary, more than two thirds of the party are now dead, including of course you, and who will wave and smile in the backseat of the car, 47 who will roll down the window and let in the cold air?

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