Common Story Among Strangers, Bonnie Stanard

Mark Terry, “Homo Ex Machina,” Tin Man Series, 19 x 19 x 6, mixed media

 

 

COMMON STORY AMONG STRANGERS

 

Those mists that obscure the hills of Jerusalem
like the ones that confuse the present
teach us a way to endure trivial truths
coming from sound bites.
History bumbles into the present
as if meaningless
until death takes a part in your life.
Then you long for the voice
arising from the dead.
Then you are willing to listen.

The passing of inspirations
is our inheritance and with it the loss
of the personal voice arising from the dead.

Ages pass.
In Gethsemane, olive trees spread
and dispatch a sack of birth.
In orchards, an undergrowth multiplies
in the soil of ancient beliefs.

We dispense holy water
to the desert and expect
only silence from the grave.

We think of dialogue as a taste
of bread on our tongue, a sip of wine.
We swirl and sniff a scent

from ancient vineyards.
The earthy sediment
drifts to the bottom of our glass
leading to disputed effects
about old stories
told by wandering prophets.

Despite the dregs,
we nod approval to ourselves,
not just approval but appreciation,
for vintners who have
created more durable hybrids.

__________________
Bonnie Stanard

 

Review by Robert Joe Stout

Where the pacing in a poem is smooth meaning emerges naturally, as it does in these three poems by Bonnie Stanard. There’s no stumbling, no questionable word choices, no gaps.

The earthy sediment
drifts to the bottom of our glass
leading to disputed effects
about old stories
told by wandering prophets

has a subtle musicality that takes one from the mundane to the abstract. Stanard does this effectively in all three of these poems, at times becoming confessional with

Subject to pallor, ulcers,
and above all, high blood pressure
I see my minutes and hours leak
through cracks in the kitchen floor.

Wow. So often in life, so often in aging, one confronts the feeling that life has become a daily battle with one’s circumstances, that it is leaking away through cracks in the kitchen floor. Powerful imagery emerging from everyday words and pacing that seems conversational, intimate.

I like poetry that shares, which these poems do, both of history bumbling into the present and the taste of apple pie.

 

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