poetry with open doors
$12, free shipping. ISBN: 9780996689113, 47 pages
Publication Date: September 28, 2018
To have been snowed on—
there’s some good in it,
dusting the limbs of pear trees,
clinging to the fleece of sheep.
I didn’t ask for it, did I?
But I can’t ask the snow to withdraw its sting.
Now it has finished and covered its tracks.
Now it has brought its truth—
Soon, over east, others will know.
To have been snowed on, well,
there’s good in it— the sifting
between now and yes.
“Sam Seskin’s To Have Been Snowed On is a personal tour-de-force, urgent, courageous and transformative, written face-to-face with the inevitability of one’s end. It is a mindful poetry enlarged by rich diction and an imagination in which nature and illness are wrapped in love.”
“Poetry is a principle of power invoked by all of us against our vanishing, wrote Allen Grossman, and one senses that power at work in Sam Seskin’s carefully woven sequence To Have Been Snowed On. Reminiscent of the 17th century metaphysical poets and the meditative tradition, it opens with an epigraph from Beethoven, Ah, it seemed to me impossible to leave the world until I had brought forth all that I felt was within me. This quote places the poems that follow in perfect context as it embraces the fragility and mutability of our human condition. As friends, other poets and strangers haunt these pages, engaging Seskin in a kind of call and response, he writes, My palms shine through small palm windows, reminding both reader and poet of the sacredness of our shared lives.”
—Sandra Alcosser, author of A Fish to Feed All Hunger and Except by Nature
I was born under the sign of Cancer. It started on my skin but disappeared before I knew it. In 2009 I took treatment.
I looked often into shallow water, Cancer’s home. I developed an affection for water and light— its swift wash, the push and pull and elegance of it, seducing piles of leaves to soften and people to go naked and nameless in spring like wild bears shaking off winter’s sleep.
The cancer seemed to die, and in its going transformed me.
It returned this year. Objects, places and feelings can become utterly different, even strange, through writing— this year my body has become that kind of object, and this group of poems is my way of coming to terms with its strangeness— with my need to acknowledge, explore, interpret and accept change. The meanings of images and metaphors for water, light, stones, and pears have shifted over time. Shock and awe have evolved into some form of equanimity.
In memory of Sam Seskin, 1950-2018