Blessings and Inclemencies, Constance Merritt's second collection of poems, is conventional in its forms and radical in its reaching back to the ground of being and to the originality and immediacy of our first encounters with language. Forgoing the common hedge of irony, these poems, without apology, place their bets on elemental language, intentional grace, and tradition in all its fruitfulness and freight.
By turns passionate and distant, these poems manage at once to ensnare and elude us, and in their urgent quest for clarity seldom fail to compel us.
I will make a start tomorrow. Thus resolved,
I close my eyes and let myself be pulled
Over the wide water and down and down.
A sharpness in my mouth, crowding my throat—
Vinegar, clay, absinthe, honey, sorrow.
I'm swaddled in the singing flesh of others.
Rhea's womb, the roiling gut of Cronus.
Blood sings the world a lullaby—The only world entire. And she is there
Slumbering, deep curled inside Demeter who
Is not Demeter yet, the Separate On
e As yet unborn. He will learn to make
Distinctions: child/stone, number, case, and gender;
Deliver us to history from bliss.
From "Among Shades: A Fragment" published in Blessings and Inclemenciesby Constance Merritt.
Copyright © 2007 by Constance Merritt. All rights reserved.
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