Birding in the Glass Age of Isolation
Beautiful poems! Lovely sentiments! Curtis LeBlanc’s Birding in the Age of Isolation charms from the first narrative episodes to the shorter poems, equally captivating, some undeniably sentimental but never corny, not even slightly.
To begin, he offers a short account of himself, then a tribute to his father, in the poem of the book’s title, a role model inviting the reader’s complicity.
Time plays a role throughout, memories for the most part good ones, The Fair Oaks summer, not a word wrongly placed:
‘A part of me
as still asleep in the spare room of that summer,
afraid of the ache of being elsewhere.’
And LeBlanc chases back to Wild Blueberry Pie, set in the few breathless weeks before his wedding. But he’s not so self-absorbed he can’t speak of Old Joel’s long-ago marriage. The old man’s wife who has ‘misplaced all recollection of her life,’ took the wheel of the truck, drove to the store, lovingly created the pie, then slid it into the oven and returned to bed, a recipe for disaster they were spared.
There’s a sadness, just shy of melancholy, empathy moving swiftly to sympathy,
‘Before the beautiful young people I knew
began to accidentally die, I didn’t need
a path to the clearing of my mother’s heaven,
only knowledge of a destination intended.’
Such a collection is more than enough to make the cynical reader, who tends to disclaim modern poetry, retract the accusation and respect a poet able to share the melody of emotion.
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