Featured Poet : Deborah Brown, Warner
Deborah Brown is a coeditor (with Maxine Kumin and Annie Finch) of Lofty Dogmas: Poets on Poetics (2005) and co-translator (with Richard Jackson and Susan Thomas) of a volume of poems by Giovanni Pascoli. A chapbook, News from the Grate, was published Oyster River Press. Her poems and essays have appeared in Prairie Schooner, The Alaska Quarterly Review, The Women’s Review of Books, The Connecticut Review, Poetry Miscellany, American Literature, Modern Language Studies \and others. Brown’s ms. of poems, Walking the Dog’s Shadow, is currently seeking a publisher. A professor of English and Chair of the Humanities Division at the University of New Hampshire in Manchester, Brown lives with her husband, George, and their three cats in Warner, NH.
Of her featured poem, Deborah writes:
Like so many poems, Magritte’s Dog came to be written in a time of grieving. The two dogs who had been at the center of my life died. When I looked outward, I saw a debased public world—people homeless and without health care, the Bush administration and its lies, the ongoing war in Iraq. I became obsessed with Magritte’s revisions of reality—the apple, the dove, the hat transported and transformed. Magritte’s imaginative nerve partly soothed and reordered that summer’s apocalyptic mood.
You don’t want to lose
the last glance you’ll ever have
of a moon milky and deep in the palm of the sky,
and you don’t want to lose
this afternoon of mist and rainbow,
though the shaken glass
ball of this planet swerves closer
to its final ditch.
You don’t want to lose the last word
Magritte’s dog sings when he flies over the roof
with the mourning doves.
You don’t want to miss your own dog’s last cries
before the silencing needle when her weight doubles
and you can barely raise her body up
from the floor to place her in the coffin
you’ve cut and nailed, while night falls
and stars, clouds and sky lie broken.
In Magritte fronds of ferns sprout
birds’ beaks and trees tumble like clowns.
Your dog is buried beside the garden,
and it’s Magritte’s dog, not yours,
who soars over the housetop and the moon,
who flies backward as Magritte’s dog can.
You don’t want to lose this chance
to paste your hands to the dog’s back, like an apple
painted onto a man’s hat and gather speed,
and you don’t want to lose a last glance back
at your garden. You don’t want to forget
how this planet shakes, a bone in a dog’s mouth.
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