From the epigraph that opens this collection to the last lines of the final poem, Just Here, Just Now is a sustained meditation on the presence of spirit in the world of daily change and variety—the just here, just now. R.H.W. Dillard asserts that “time is precious,” not only because it is fleeting but because its particulars are precious in their holiness. Dillard’s concern is with the presence of the universal in the particular, or as he puts it in “Loading a Shoebox,” with
Another day like every day
Like no other.
Just Here, Just Now is as varied in its approaches to the spirit as it is in its poetic forms and subjects (which include serial murderers and the fall of the Soviet empire as well as personal memories of family, the death of a mother, and long letters to close friends). The collection moves from dark visions of love and loss in the first pages to meditations inspired by artists ranging from Henri Rousseau, Edgar Allan Poe, and Alfred Hitchcock to Thelonius Monk and Ornette Coleman.
Many poems in the book’s later pages deal directly with issues of meaning and belief, resolving the problems of the earlier poems through discoveries of love’s presence even in loss and the mutable moment. As “Winter Letter to Bluefield” concludes:
It is true we lose the things we hold dearest
But equally true that because we hold them dear
We find ourselves which we otherwise had lost,
Find ourselves whole—just now, just here.
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