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Memory's Dog

Steve Myers

Musical words and rhythmical phrases are the ways into these poems that meld memory and imagination, and I find myself almost humming along rather than reading-or, reading as reading should be, with the mind, heart and body.  Hopkins and Heaney, Charles Wright and the ancient Chinese poets are heard and seen here, with the delightful result of strong emotion presented in strongly musical and imagistic poetry.  Unlike most contemporary poetry being written today, Steve Myers' poems elevate the so-called ordinary images of his life with a language that is unabashedly beautiful. Memory's Dog is a delight.

Len Roberts

Steve Myers grew up in rural Bucks County, Pennsylvania in the early 1960s and has lived at various times in other corners of the state, as well as in Mountain Lakes, N.J.; Rochester, N.Y., and Glasgow, Scotland. He received the Ph.D. degree in English from the University of Rochester in 1990 and since has taught at DeSales University. The author of a book on W.B. Yeats' poetry of the 1890s as well as scholarly articles on Yeats, his chapbook, Work Site, was published by FootHills in 2003. Individual poems have recently appeared or will soon appear in Atlanta Review, Bellingham Review, The Cream City Review, The Dalhousie Review, Miller's Pond, Paterson Literary Review, Two Rivers Review, and West Branch. He currently lives in Center Valley, Pennsylvania. His wife and son are both artists, the former a musician, the latter a musician/actor.


Writing Bucks County at 4 a.m.
Prime of Life     
Bye's Springhouse     
Forty Crossings     
Camping at Hampton's Farm, 1962     
Winter's archangel, the grackle,     
Kept from Sleep     
Miriam Rosen's Show and Tell     
Frisson: The Whale-Boat at the
     Mercer Museum, Doylestown     
Civil Defense     


Easter Early This Year, Over Easy     
Bat-eared Fox     
South Mountain Morning     
These Are the Mornings     
My Son Sings Campion at the
     Turn of Summer     
Tolstoy's Women     
While Observing a Groundhog,
     I Listen to Ram Dass Do the Tao     
Odalisque 2     
I Think of the Birds of November
     and the Philosopher Harry Wiley     
Zen Painting with Water     
As if by instinct      
At Magdalene     
At Newman House     
While the Future is Putting Its
     Cards on the Table, My Irish
     Side Fumbles A Handful of Chips     
Equivocation in Middle Age     
Mountain. Matins. A Truck Drives By.     
Feast of St. Stephen,     

From the book:

While Observing a Groundhog,
I Listen to Ram Dass Do the Tao

        October spills over South Mountain in slow motion.

The valley fills; as the crow flies
                                      his wingtips skim the thin miniscus
forming from Vera Cruz to Blooming Glen.

The Delaware River watershed
                                  downshifts to reduced-sluice mode.

Small-ribbed locust leaves go yellow, porous and delicate
                 as rice paper.
One thumb-and-finger stem-twirl shreds them.


From my porch I watch a groundhog, sunning his genius
                                                                 for non-stirring-

black-footed grass-flattener, small-bore bear,
storehouse of mass
fleshed to run his engine on idle all winter
                                                 under the bronze viburnum.


Grayscale cumuli are fulminating in Macungie.
All the reliable timetables tell me the Second Law
                                                              of Thermodynamics
arrives from Emmaus this afternoon, right on the money.

Twice today its ripsaw whistle, gone up like a hawk-shriek;
third time the charm that strips a sparrow down
to skin and bone.


Fast-forward, rewind-
I force my tape deck into feeding me a line,
                                                                    the 48th rubric
of the Tao:                                             
The Way is gained by loss upon loss
Until at last, ah! The Way!

 --voice of Ram Dass, Indian-summering on

about hsin-hsin, heart-knowledge. 50 in February,
                                                     I ruminate on the wisdom
of an anonymous Chinese artisan,
               as the groundhog ruminates upon a field of grass.

Hsin, hsin runs the blood-flush of the heart in autumn.

Translation: more, more--of everything under the sun:
finch-glint, cricket-skritch, last gush of Russian sage…

             time enough in November for the heart to den
like a swollen roshi,
                                rapt in foreshadowing
of its own shadow, dozing as though there was no tomorrow-

knowing nothing
                           can save me from the heart-cease to come,
not even inevitable Spring.

Memory's Dog is a 64 page hand-sewn paperback with flat spine - $14.00
ISBN: 0-941053-38-5

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