Usually I do my best to remain as unbiased as taste and age allow when it comes to discussing books, but in this case I’m delighted to be entirely and unashamedly biased in mentioning that Never-Ending Birds has been released by Norton as a paperback edition. This extraordinary volume by David Baker, KR’s poetry editor and Professor of English at Denison University, is filled with poems that are taut and tight and lyrical, wise and well-hewn. Here’s one:
This time the jay, fat as a boot, bluer
than sky gone blue now that the rain has
finished with us for a while, this loud jay
at the neck of the black walnut keeps cawing
I want, I wantbut can’t finish his clause.
Hard runoff has spread the driveway with seeds,
green talcum, the sex of things, packed
like plaster against shutters and tool boxes,
sides of the barn, while the force of water
pouring down from the stopped-up gullet
of gutter has drilled holes deep in the mud.
Yet the world of the neighborhood is still just
the world, So much, so much. Like the bulldog
next door, choking itself on a chain
to guard the yard of the one who starves it.