Posts Tagged ‘Ed Bok Lee Reading in Bed Is Like Heaven’

Bibhu Padhi has three poems in the current issue of The Apple Valley Review. First is “Evening, Bhubaneswar.” It starts, “Floating above the rice fields, / the jackfruit trees, // evening comes / and gets into our dark houses // where ghosts stay, / poems are made.” There is something ethereal, magical, about this poem, a sort of floating-above-the-ground feel. The narrator anticipates changes, anticipates revelations, without knowing exactly what is to happen. “From a distant village
comes a song that // speaks about lost things. / A wind from the north arrives…” The power of the poem comes, I think, from the grounding in immediate images, as you can see. Exotic and intriguing. The second poem is almost an extension of the first. “Ghosts” starts out: “They enter, milk-white, / the dark house, full of poems // written by thin, wiry hands. / The nights come back // again and again, teasing / my sense of time.” Very powerful work.

Ananda-mayi dasi gives us “Onset” — “We’re in summer: our beds pocked / with dead songbirds: grey understatements.” As you can see, the images surprise us, going in unexpected directions. The poem then takes up the description of a girl hanging from a noose. The narrator herself? Then a reference to her brother, digging in the garden. It’s a short work, but one that makes us think.

I like the metaphor in the first line of “Autumn Has Come,” by Aura Christi: “A night fallen on its muzzle, like a cringing animal.” It  shocks us into paying attention, and the following lines are equally complex and intriguing: ” I no longer know when I lived / and if ever I’ll live again, God, /
what dream, what life, what story I’ll awaken in…” A poem tackling the big questions, ambitious, not afraid to jostle and creak around the edges. Even the turn is this way, unadorned, concentrated, wanting to get on with it: “It’s important to keep waiting.” A strong work.

Finally, Ed Bok Lee gives us “Reading in Bed Is Like Heaven,” which may be the poetry title I am most in agreement with, ever. Despite being short, this poem is elusive, perhaps hinting that what we read enters our dreams, changes us. “And now I see it’s not the meanings I loved most / demolishing each labyrinth flooded with belief, // but the quandaries…” So much to contemplate, and to enjoy, here.

Peace in poetry,

P M F Johnson

My eBook of poems, Against The Night, a wry look at the love that builds throughout a marriage, is available on Amazon, and at other fine e-retailers.

Related blog posts:

Convergence – Summer 2018

The Sun – Sept, 2018

Rattle 61 – Fall, 2018

P.S. Here’s the link to the magazine, though you’ll have to hunt down volume 13, # 2 once the current issue gets archived: https://www.applevalleyreview.com/



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