Michael Corrigan, dedicated formalist poet in Norway, Maine, added to his good works in Erato’s name by spending precious energy judging the Spring issue, hopefully a pleasant task, but a task nevertheless. His choice for best poem and comments are below:
I found sets of poems submitted by poets whose work appeared at least twice in that issue. I liked multiple poems from certain writers; I admired the bravura final lines of E. P. Fisher’s “Remnants of the Night” and “The Clouds Drift Down Forever to the Sky.” Antoinette Treadway’s metaphoric triumph of “The Shawl” and Mark Rich’s “Improving Matters in the Apple Trees,” among others, also seemed particularly accomplished…I finally decided to award Alan Sugar’s “Noah” first place, buttressed as the poem was by the Spring issue’s fine leadoff poem, his “accordance.” “Noah” was the most musical work in the issue –plus, I am a pushover for formal work that transmogrifies classic myths and stories. Classic subject matter so nicely meshes with form, somehow.
Thank you so much, Michael!
With Queen Anne’s lace nodding and floating outside, it’s so easy to drift in the summer warmth, but also in the background, the sound of crickets is there, a gentle reminder Nature’s shifting—change is in the air…..
As the first poem in the issue suggests, change is always in the air, moving unseen, both welcomed and mourned. A letter from Frannie Lindsay, bride of Philip Burnham, sent word that he departed the earth on June 14th, several weeks after his last submission in May. His graceful presence will be sorely missed! Frannie wrote that “he died peacefully at home, according to every one of his last wishes…” She will be taking over the publication of his final collection with the help of a hospice volunteer with whom he grew close. The following poem from his last submission follows, as he circled through sensory memories of his life.
When I have rolled the world into a ball,
Chased the moon from sickle to circle round,
Harvested silence before the wave falls,
Read Denebola in Leo as sound,
Stolen perfume from the flowers’ spilled smell
Tasted the wind below the Cliffs of Mohr,
Stopped beneath a cross on some holy hill,
Blessed your name within the cannon’s roar,
Run by Nausicaa beside the wine-dark sea,
Sent signals up I wished to be alone,
Ordered Chopin’s Cello Etude to be
Delivered when I was never at home,
Lit two white candles for your kiss, your kiss
That would unroll as grass beneath my feet,
The waxing moon hid in an ether wisp
Of cloud, the sea returning to its retreat
Over the dampened sand unremembered,
Stars of direction fading in the light,
Spring’s earliest blossoms now dissembled
The earth is whirling ever out of sight.
Philip E. Burnham, Jr.
And we must say goodbye to not one, but two poets. Both Lisa Morris and Joann Fantina sent word that Michael Fantina passed away after a short illness on June 7th. He was a prolific and passionate writer of poems and short stories, several of which appeared in our pages. Michael worked in academia for most of his career, was an expert on the Civil War and World War II, and an active member of the American Legion. Lisa Morris offers this poem in his memory:
When you, My Love, Are Only Clay
When you, my love, are only clay,
I do not hope to find
Another soul who fits my own
Or understands my mind.
The world, for me, will then be changed
Into a desert waste
And water will be offered me
Without familiar taste;
But I will turn, a heartsick thing,
A wanderer, a flame,
Who haunts a bit of marble stone
Because it bears your name.
So, dear friends, please treasure these summer days, and “gather ye rosebuds while ye may,” for always beneath the surface, there is a murmur of change. Precious, precious, every rose and every day…..