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The Poetry Of.
Kenneth P. Gurney.....................................


Might as well be the tide
rolling over the shore
or the moon rocking
the ocean waters.

It leaves her breathless
and sets a tremble through
her spine; something electric:
lightning strikes that start fires,
heat the coldest stone.

It is not just a force of nature,
a hurricane tearing trees by the root,
blowing over everthing in its path,

but something sought, given
permission to invade. Something
she does not fight, but joins in,
like two rivers meeting, merging
forming a larger flow,
like the dark clouds on the horizon
gathering into a gigantic, pyrotechnic storm
that covers the prairie with fire,
with water.


Delphi's hand uncorks the smell
of hot bread from the oven.

She places fresh loaves to cool
between the thin stem vases with daisies.

The children place their faces against
the kitchen window, smudge noses to glass.

The dog howls as he runs through the yard—
a bell tied to his tail rings the birds away.

Delphi reads a letter, a Hallmark card
with a note, an apology:

If I made you cry, baby, I'm sorry.
She dislikes it when a man refers to her as baby,

then scratches dried bread dough
from the worn thread pattern of her blue jeans.

She draws a hot bath adds rose petals
to the water, sets a book of Naomi Nye's poems

on the edge of the porcelain tub, sets towels
in easy reach on a three-legged stool.

Delphi leaves her clothes on the oak floor boards
worn smooth over the centuries, underneath

the hand woven rug with turquoise blossoms
nailed to the wall, next to the family portraits.

As the bread cools, she soaks up the water's heat,
as Nye's words saturate her eyes, invest her

relaxing muscles.


There are pieces of me
scattered about by the smoke
of the catholic service censor—
Latin batters me, a wrecking ball
of guilt and accusation—
sometimes I fall in the shallow
water of the baptismal font
and nearly drown.

I dreamed a man bearing
a blue ball, a sphere,
and on top of it sat a little boy
splashing in oceans.

Or splashing in mud, outside
on a sunny day gone to rain,
gone to two-by-two, and he sinks
through the pages to the bottom
of the book, barefoot in a puddle,
his shoes set neatly on the steps,
on the ascension taken
from the street toward the altar.

I attempt to gather myself
during the collection, the cleansing
of pocket books. I cover my ears
and hold my own hands—
in this place of worship I feel
so small as to be insignificant,
lost, scattered by confusing verse,
by a one-sided conversation,
by the intercession of priests
speaking in tongues
when clarity is needed.

It gives me the greatest pleasure to provice a link
to Kenneth's latest print publication, an amazing
group of poems, gathered together masterfully in
Greeting Card and Other Poems
The title poem alone is worth the purchase. Kenneth
Gurney is, hands-down, one of my all time favorite poets,
living or dead. His style unmistakable~ spiritual, lyrical.

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