in memory of Stephen Dunn
From the title on, the poet said,
you set up a series of expectations
within the reader. Then
you either fulfill or subvert them.
Poets in ancient China believed
The words stop but the poem goes on
like a canoe, its paddles lifted from the water.
So it is with certain lives.
We live here in their wake,
expecting the ripples will never end,
subverted each time they do.
Poetic closure consists of reminders
of where the words have been,
where they will return,
and the click at the end
like a lid lowered into place,
a sound we expect that still leaves us breathless
when one’s words end but we go on.
—from Rattle #79, Spring 2023
R.G. Evans: “In addition to writing poems, I’m a songwriter as well. There’s something exhilarating about the feeling of performing an original song for an audience and getting immediate, positive feedback—but that feeling is, as Emily Dickinson wrote, ‘How public—like a Frog—.’ Finishing and polishing a pretty good poem and at first (and maybe always) being its only reader is a wicked little pleasure I get to keep all to myself.” (web)