Walden Book by Allen Bramhall
(The Greying Ghost, Mass., 2008)
Although the prose poems of Allen Bramhall's Walden Book require, by virtue of sentences like verse lines amid sentences like journal entries or speech, replication, not excerption, commentary has its own requirement: the interspersion of selections from one author's writing with transcribed selections of another author's reading. Bramhall's marvelous use of stops for pacing is but adumbrated in a review (all quotation marks in this review are mine):
"taxonomy relaxes the boundaries, and everyone dies to learn more. these racing cars (Route 2) enforce the latest. mind where you roam, percipient one. endless delivery is a love of place." (from "Map This")
I report there are recurring characters in Walden Book, among them Thoreau, Walden Pond, Walden's visitors, and, Walden's other, perhaps initial, genius loci, the pond monster.
"when the monstrous benthic beast resumes its search, climbing from the water with dripping approach, the crowds will yawn thru all the hot weekend. the monstrosity will invent Henry again and the world will spin thru new acres of space. every dimension has a confusing edge that needs to be viewed from the side. when time bends and space circles on itself, we become enthralled in matters of vocabulary." (from "Monstrous Walden")
Circling is another recurrence in this book.
"Thoreau's ghost makes a rare appearance everyday. smile when you see that he has been laughing inwardly. you can throw a rock on his memorial cairn, or screw it, invent a new tree. oh the passing train feels a sadness, but heads on down the line." (from "Walden Pond In Rain")
"Thoreau moved on, circling. doesn't that sound familiar?" (from "Lone Piper At Dawn (Thursday Morn)")
Bramhall writes of the community landscape sometimes calls for and sometimes provides:
"we want to look at the sequestered water, and fit it into our plans. blithe citizens, we are free to fall out of trees, free to stare at stones. the dialogue between tree leaf and sunlight broadens our universe one molecule at a time. this dynamic fit shakes us to our very soul, tho no soul could contend with the definitions we have depended on to outlast the coming sunset." (from "Walden Will Remain")
One must note Nature, and one may, with Allen Bramhall, give at least as much attention to the Nature poetry depicts itself as sharing with the world:
"the pond pours out a siren of wet nature, and seems so reckless. from the hill across the street, the sight of the damp instigation is a ritual among trees." (from "When Beth Sees Walden")
"the sparkling sunset last summer held on and now, listen, the rainfall agrees. oh such public poetry, placed just so. I love that very act." (from "Rational Pond In Concord")
As do I! This is another necessary and desired book by Allen Bramhall.
"going and coming are just two ways of saying the world is green and green and greener still." (from "Walden Will Remain")
Jeff Harrison reviewed books in GR #8, GR #9, and GR #10. Some of his poems can be read here. You are welcome to visit Antic View.